The weirdest time of a collegiate athlete’s life is basically 2 weeks after their career has ended. At first, you are sad. The thing you’ve dedicated your body, time and mindset to is no longer part of you—so you mourn for a good week or so.
But then every senior athlete will come to this scary question: "Now what?"
I found myself asking this very question a week after I ended my volleyball career. So I did what I thought was right and sent my resume out to countless jobs. Sure enough, I landed myself a few interviews.
Here are just a few examples of how my life started to change in a matter of days:
1. I was now attending initial interviews during the time I was supposed to be in practice.
2. I was now wearing business casual attire instead of my usual sweat pants and t-shirt.
3. I now found myself talking about what my goals were in the next five years instead of my goals for an individual game.
4. I started preparing for second interviews while my former teammates go on to off-season work outs.
Although this is an exciting time, it is also a dangerous time for athletes. I found myself going through the motions of interviewing because it is just what felt right. I wasn't happy. I was really missing what I had grown up around. I wasn't willing to talk about it.
However, I noticed how well my sport prepared me for this interview. I had to act quickly under the pressure of answering a question during these interviews. I was also able to give specific examples from times during my sport when I worked well in a team. I realized in the end that my collegiate sport had really prepared me for the work place.
My advice to athletes during this weird transition time is this: Allow yourself time to mourn your sport—as much time as you need. If you don't you will feel truly empty. This was an important part of your life and you don't need to downplay your sadness.
It's okay to miss your sport. It's okay to not be happy jumping right into what is next. However, just remember that this is something that has to happen.
However take heart! You are ready for this phase. Playing sports has given you the mindset to tackle tough obstacles. So move on with confidence, knowing that you can do anything you put your mind to. Don't forget everything that the sport has taught you!