Many parents feel they have made mistakes in guiding their children through school. In her book Educational Athlete: Why Every Successful Student Needs A Coach, Eboni January, M.D. shares critical tips and lessons to effectively help parents guide their children to achieve academically.
“The formula to be a winning athlete is no different than the formula to be a successful doctor, lawyer, engineer,” January says in Educational Athlete. This is her mantra and Educational Athlete is her manifesto and guide to success.
January, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist from East St. Louis, Illinois has already amassed a treasure chest of life experience and has piercing insights which allow her to offer road maps on several fronts.
She’s not just speaking of this subject matter simply as an authority figure, she has walked the walk. Her academic trials as a student – the obstacles she encountered in life and in college and people who tried to block her from the path to becoming a doctor – are candidly discussed.
“I learned early in my life that there is a direct correlation between the principles of athletics and life in general,” January said. “ If applied, those principles will help us to achieve success, success that anyone can attain given the proper motivation and drive.”
Each chapter in the book closes with an inspirational quote from a famous coach or athlete that can be applied to learning. The chapter entitled, “Who Is the Best Person For My Child To Shadow?” ends with an astute observation from John Wooden, former basketball player and head coach at UCLA, “Young people need models, not critics.”
She urges parents to start early becoming academic coaches or finding academics the same way that they might find sports coaches and programs for their kids like peewee football and soccer.
She writes in a concise, easy to understand manner, so busy parents and students will be able to read Educational Athlete in just a few sittings. The chapters all pertain to questions Dr. January has been asked over the years as a physician, academic coach and mentor. “Should My Student Go to College?,” “How Can Your Child Be Successful Despite Adversity?” and “What Is The Best Study Environment For My Child?” are among the inquiries.
Thinking beyond the sports scholarship box
In Educational Athlete, January cautions not to put too many eggs in the fragile basket of sports scholarship dreams.
“Only 3 out of 10,000 high schoolers make it to the NBA,” January said in the book. “Only 17,500 B-ballers make the college team. The number drafted by the NBA is 48.” She enlightens the reader about the feasibility of obtaining academic scholarships, even amongst those not ranked top of their class. Striving academically – studying hard, making good grades, gaining a facility for taking standardized tests will assist us in this regard. Ultimately combining these skills with electives, with wisely chosen extracurricular activities, and learning to discern a strong internship or volunteer opportunity will help students stand out on applications and greatly increase their chances for an academic scholarship and different types of financial aid. “What parents and students don’t know is that there is nearly $3 billion of scholarship money that goes untouched merely because people don’t know that it exists,” said January.
Many accessible strategies are provided for students to improve their grades and standardized test scores, and avoid spinning their wheels, so that they may better advance themselves. This powerful little book reveals many secrets for “studying smarter, not harder,” and offers invaluable tips on time management on a daily basis and throughout one’s educational career. She advises college-bound students to show the best of themselves academically in their junior year, in order that their senior year can be spent honing in on research to determine the most suitable colleges, best financial packages – and applying for funds so that students and their families can afford it.
Academic game changers
January also details how parents can find and vet an academic coach that is the best fit for the child – and the parent.
Educational Athlete gives hope and faith for any student and family interested in building a strong foundation for education in their lives or developing themselves academically. January’s book also has the potential to save time and money through her distillation of important life skills and methods. Her blue print is sharp, wise and easy to follow. Her writing is peppered with advice which promotes a balanced life and healthy well-being.
In addition to writing Educational Athlete, and working full-time as an OBGYN, she has established a “text-coaching” fitness program to combat obesity and has done a podcast for CBS radio to champion holistic fitness in our community. She has recently appeared as a guest panelist for The St. Louis American “No Appointment Necessary” video health series and as the subject of one of two St. Louis American videos on education.
Part of the power of January’s message and work is her ability to talk straight to youth, as well as to parents. It is a blessing that she can do both and is committed to service in St. Louis on both sides of the river. Her willingness to share her mistakes and struggles has allowed her to develop strong rapports with the youth she mentors. Young people will recognize and appreciate someone who can speak frankly to them based on experience and with a real understanding of what they go through these days.
Those interested in excelling and training others to excel, can learn much from Dr. Eboni January and Educational Athlete.
Educational Athlete: Why Every Successful Student Needs A Coach is available for purchase on Amazon.com. For more information on Dr. Eboni January, follow her on Instagram at @doctorejbootcamp and on Twitter at @DoctorEJ1.