Budinscak, Irish academic All-American candidate, reflects on balancing academics and football

First Person With Kyle Budinscak

Sept. 24, 2004

I graduated this past spring with a 3.6 G.P.A and a major in Finance. I’m proud to have graduated from the University of Notre Dame in four years with a decent G.P.A. I knew all along that academics were one of the major reasons I came here. It was secondary to football, but I know that someday, finance is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life, so I always worked hard at that. I took pride in going to class every day and knowing what was going on there. I tried to compete in the classroom like I did on the field, and I’m proud to have done that.

I wasn’t always a dedicated student. My parents have always been pushing me to get good grades, but I finally turned it on a little bit in college. Maybe you could say that I did it when it counts. I learned a work ethic once I got into a regimen here on campus and had study hall as a freshman for two hours each night. A few weeks into the year, I had missed a few classes and I wasn’t doing too well. One night in study hall, I said to myself, I’m going to try to be different in the classroom. I made up my mind that I was going to do it and I did, and I developed some decent habits. Time management is definitely hard, though. More than anything you have to be focused on getting things done. It kind of comes naturally when you’re constantly pushing yourself to do things, at least that’s how it was for me.

With respect to the admission standards for athletes, I know Notre Dame won’t let in a lot of students that other places will. I’m not an expert on this, but I don’t think the standards are exactly rigid for athletes as they stand now, and I think that’s good. There are some students who probably shouldn’t come here, but I think the majority of high school students can come in here and learn how to succeed in the classroom if they’re given help.

Early on, during the first two years, I tried to get as many tutors as I could to help me as I was doing my homework. It helped facilitate things so I could get them done faster. Since then, I haven’t used them a whole lot, but early on it was a big help to have the student-athlete building there for us. All our tutors and advisors were very helpful. I just took everything day by day and it ended up working out pretty well.

The first four years, my days were pretty typical. You would either get up and work out or go to early classes, then you’d probably be at class all day, you’d eat lunch, head to the stadium, have practice, get out by 7:30 or 8:00, then go to study hall for a couple hours, and after that, there isn’t much room for anything else. My schedule has changed a little though, especially this year; it’s a lot different than it was the past four years. Right now, as a fifth-year student, I’m enjoying myself a lot more. I’ve been thinking about what I want to do after graduation. I think eventually I’d like to work in the investment or money management business, be it after the NFL or whenever. We’ll just have to wait and see.