Lessons from Student Athletes

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Lessons from Student Athletes

Young girl swimming butterfly stroke style As a career counselor I have worked with many division I, II, and III athletes. These athletes have amazed me in how much dedication, perseverance and grit they exhibit! Recently I decided to survey 20 athletes and get their feedback about their college experience as an athlete. Below are some questions and responses that were included in the survey.

1.  Being a college athlete, what were your strategies for handling the academic side of college?

Response: “I always tried to stay ahead of schedule. I kept a very good planner/schedule with all my appointments, assignments, and athletic commitments like practices changes or competitions to help stay on top of things.  A lot of athletic programs require freshman and sophomores to have a certain number of tutoring hours. I actually continued to use tutors even in my junior and senior year which helped me maintain a high GPA.”  Another student athlete: ” Any sport requires a lot of time and energy and can be draining, emotionally and physically. What I found to help me was creating a schedule that gave me the perfect balance between work and play.”

2.  How many hours per week did you spend practicing or playing a game in your sport?

Response:  “At least 20-25 hours a week training which included pool time and in the weight room.  Hours were more when we had competitions which lasted anywhere from 5 hours for a duel meet to a full 4 day weekend for larger meets.”  Another  student athlete: “At least 20 hours playing or practicing. Another 5 hours doing rehab, getting ready for practice and setting up.”

3.  Did you participate in internships or gain relevant work experience in your field of study?

Response: “No, I was unable to do any internships or work experience during college”. Another student athlete: “During the school year I did not participate in an internship or job but during one summer I was able to work.”

4.  If you could repeat college what would you do differently?

Response:  “I would have done the Highlands Ability Battery before deciding my major! My college offered very limited career counseling.” Another student athlete:  “I would try to get involved in more things on campus such as clubs.”

5.  What advice would you give an athlete starting college?

Response:  There are so many resources for student athletes in college but a lot of us don’t even realize what’s out there!  My advice to incoming freshmen would be to talk to upperclassmen about what resources are available.  My college even had a fund that is dedicated to athletes to buy a suit to wear to interviews.”  Another student athlete: “My school offers Grad Assistant positions for any athlete who wants to obtain a master’s degree. Definitely check that out! They offer very limited career counseling so you will need to find a private career counselor to help you out.”

6.  What was the transition like from being a college athlete to an employee with a full time job?

The transition from being an NCAA athlete to an employee was not an easy one. I still miss the thrill of training and competition. During college I relied on the help from advisers and mentors as a college athlete.  I credit the advise from College2Career in helping me identify an appropriate career path.”  Another student athlete:  ” Since I never really had the true college experience and I was unable to participate in internships, I decided upon graduation to pursue a MBA at the same school with the help of the Grad Assistant program for college athlete.  I am a little burned-out so this will be perfect for me to be “real” student.”

Being a student athlete is no easy quest. It requires time management, organizational skills and dipping into college resources to help the athlete succeed in college and to transition into the professional world. College2Career will take the guesswork out of the equation and develop a strategic plan for your student athlete.  College2Career offers a variety of services including:  career assessments, resume development, LinkedIn profiles, mock interviews, internships and letters of intent for master’s and PhD programs. Call College2Career today to get your student on the right path! (813) 494-7592



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About the Author:

Molly Carey Smith, M.A. is a career counselor who specializes in providing career assessments to help high school and college students identify college majors and career options and to help young adults transition more effectively in a new role or career. The Highlands Ability Battery, The Strong Interest Inventory and The Rutger's Value Assessment are the perfect tools to identify which college major and career options are the best fit. The more knowledge you have about yourself the more effective your life and career decisions will be. To contact Molly -