A lot of times, with the time constraints put on student athletes, there is a feeling that you’re missing out on gaining work experience.
But there are ways to still gain experience in any given field and resources out there to help you, even if you aren’t sure what type of career you want.
Below are 7 Ideas that can help you gain insight on your potential career path.
- Job Shadowing. If you don’t know what a certain job entails on a day-to-day basis, what better way to learn than to see it first hand? Talk to professors, parents, friends, anyone you know, and simply ask what they do and if you can shadow them for a day. People are generally thrilled to have someone be interested in seeing what they do.
- Take Advantage of Your Off-Season. It’s tempting to want to take it easy while not in competition season, but when your travel schedule slows, take advantage of the time to look into professional opportunities. Just like anything else you’ve done in your sport, make a goal and a plan to achieve it. It can be as simple as making it a point to talk to two professors a month during off season. Sometimes the smallest conversations can teach you something brand new.
- Internships. Even if it feels like you don’t have the time, you most likely do. Whether in the summer, off-season, or even during season, there is always time to get experience; you just have to be willing to make that time. Think about interning in your athletic department for a few hours each day, or even a few hours each week. What about getting an internship when you are home for the summer? Yes, you have summer workouts to do, but maybe that means waking up an hour earlier to make it happen. As athletes, we have the mindset and physical ability to make it work, and typically we operate much better with a structured schedule. That’s what makes companies love hiring us!
- Change Your Mindset. Make the commitment to yourself to push outside your comfort zone and talk to new people and do the hard work. Putting the time in now will set you up for success later. These are the ways you will glide into your next chapter more seamlessly when the time comes.
- Ask for Help AND Know People are Willing to Help. People around you want to see you succeed but they don’t know how to help unless you reach out and ask. It can be intimidating and humbling to ask for help because you may be used to excelling naturally in your sport. You’ve been the best at your sport most of your life and learning new skills can be a little awkward at first. However, at the end of the day in the career sense, you have to realize you will always be continuously learning. Moreover, you have proven skills enabling you to learn quickly and work hard through sports.
- Plan Ahead! Do NOT wait until your senior year to think about these things. You should be thinking about it from the moment you step on campus. Each year, you should aim to get some sort of experience, even if it seems small. Challenge yourself to get at least one internship by your junior year.
- Use Resources Around You. There are so many resources now, like the NCAA, where you can learn more about other student athletes and their career path after competing. There are so many student athletes that have found their calling after competition. Learn more about their path and find a way to create your own!