It's tough for students to stay prepared for school while on the road. I can't tell you how many times students would drag their weary bodies up to me before English class and, with a rehearsed face that exuded "feel sorry for me" all over its tired lines, ask for an extension on a project or exam.
Why? They were on the road, didn't have access to a computer, or they'd performed at a championship or exhibition. They figured that in my inherent desire to show school spirit, I should cut them slack. Sorry, but it doesn't - and shouldn't - work that way.
When you're a student athlete, you must learn how to balance your sport with other obligations. Of these, school is the most important.
Know your schedules (all of them)
When your teachers hand out a syllabus at the beginning of the year, save them. Too late? Get another copy. Use a planner to write in all of your major projects and test dates along with games, away trips and practice times. This shows you in advance what to expect down the road so you aren't suddenly overwhelmed by a busy schedule.
If your teacher hasn't provided you with a syllabus, ask nicely (teachers should be organized, too). Coaches and parents should also have this information so there are no surprises when your term research project is due a week before homecoming.
Get your work in advance
Usually, your teachers will sign off on any permission slips that take you away from their classroom. Get the work well in advance and review what's been assigned. If you don't understand something, you won't have the benefit of being able to ask questions otherwise. Don't assume you can just make up the work after you return.
Make use of technology
If you have access to an e-reader, use it while in transit. Apps are available on most phones, too, so you can read while on the road. Classic novels are usually free to download. You can just as easily carry your notebooks on the road with you and study your class notes. If you can pass the time playing Angry Birds, you have no excuse to blow off studying for your exams.
Get enough sleep
Don't allow your trip to become one giant social event and forget to sleep. Get unplugged, turn off your phone and force yourself to be still. Recharge your physical and mental batteries or you'll be in no shape to take care of your obligations for your sport and your academics.
Simply put, being prepared, making the best use of your time and not allowing yourself to be distracted from your work are the best ways to take advantage of away time. Instead of losing an academic and competitive edge, the prepared and organized student will end up with a winning record.