Top 5 Lessons You'll Learn as a Collegiate Artist and Athlete

Top 5 Lessons You’ll Learn as a Collegiate Artist and Athlete

Brenna Mitchell, senior interior architecture and design major at Academy of Art University, has juggled the roles of both student and artist throughout her entire life.

However, as a senior four-year letter winner in softball at Angelo Rodriguez High School, she was trying to come to grips with the fact that she most likely wouldn’t be able to play collegiate softball and pursue a degree in an artistic field.

“It was my dream to get into college and to be able to play softball at the same time,” Brenna said. “I wanted to chase both dreams.”

Luckily, Brenna never had to make that hard decision.

“I was at a tournament and Academy athletic recruiters reached out to my travel softball coaches saying they were interested in having me play for the Urban Knights,” she said.

After a little bit of research, Brenna knew she wanted to come to the Academy.

“At other schools, I would have had to choose between art and softball. The opportunity is very special to me.”

She’s been busy preparing for her final semester, but she took some time to talk to us about the skills she has learned from being a student athlete and an artist.

Brenna Mitchell pitching for the Urban Knights.

Here’s what she had to tell us:


1.) The bumps in the road are going to make you a better person.

“Every day on the field, we’re being taught to compete at a high level. Sometimes we’re going to fail somewhere along the process. At the end, we will always succeed after the failure. I apply that into my classwork. You’re going to fail at some point while you’re in school, whether it be a project or a test. But you’re always going to learn from that failure and use it to get better,” Brenna said.

2.) You’ll find yourself striving to be the best both on the field and in the classroom.

“As a teammate, you’re always pushing your team to be the best. In the classroom, I find myself doing that as well, and working to inspire others to give their best as well. I’ve found that if you’re doing your best, it really does inspire others to want to be their best as well,” Brenna believes.

She also loves inspiring others thanks to the support that she gets both on and off the field. “Our coaches and teachers put very high standards on us. They want us to be well-rounded. That includes being a good athlete, a good person, and a good student.”

3.) Teamwork makes the dream work.

 Cliché maybe, but Brenna says it’s true. “Learning to work well with others and reach a common goal, distributing tasks, and coming back to create a cohesive final project is something we do both in sports and in the classroom,” she said.

“I have teammates that rely on me, as well as classmates. We can’t accomplish wins or group projects alone.”

4.) You’ll become excellent at time management.

You *might* be able to get away with procrastinating if your only responsibility is school, but when you’re a student athlete, forget about it.

According to Brenna, “To succeed at one, you have to succeed at the other. You can’t miss practice, and you can’t miss class.”

After years of balancing school and sports, she’s a pro at being able to work anytime, anywhere, and with whatever resources she has available. This is a skill she knows will help her someday as a working professional.

“You’re going to go on business trips where you have to work on-the-go. Sometimes, we’re gone for long stretches of days for games, but it’s no excuse to not do your work,” she added.

Brenna Mitchell
Brenna Mitchell

“This school has given me the chance to have everything I’ve ever wanted.” –Brenna Mitchell

5.) What’s wrong with being confident?

According to both Demi Lovato and Brenna, nothing!

“I always feel confident because of what my professors are teaching me in the classroom and what my coaches are teaching me on the field,” she said. “I’m learning at such a highly trained and highly skilled level in both cases, so I have a healthy mind and outlook on life.”

If you’re an student athlete with a passion for art, we want to hear from you! Read more about the Urban Knights’ sports teams and academic opportunities available at the Academy.