I will be 24 years old with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, but I won't have a job. I've been looking recently, and even internships now a days need at least a year of experience. I will be leaving college with no debt because I played a sport, but it feels like it would've been better if I spent the four years getting experience in my field.
Has the value of being a collegiate athlete dropped to employers? I feel like when they look at my resume, the part about spending four years of my life dedicated to something means absolutely nothing. There are at least seven lessons I learned that everyday student don't have the luxury of experiencing, but are employers looking or taking that into account? Here's a list I think all employers should take into account:
1. How to work in a team
And I mean how to actually work in a team. This wasn't if you didn't do your job, someone else could finish your part and work extra hard. This was if you didn't do your job the rest of your team suffered. If something wasn't working we had to find a different way to help out anyway we could.
2. Details are important
Most sports are won and lost by one run, one point, one inch; so focusing on every little detail is extremely important. It might not seem like a big thing at the time, but eventually we realize how much every little thing matters.
3. Be great, handle it when you're not
We always strive for greatness, but we know how to lose. We know how to handle failure, and come back so that we never make the same mistake again. We work harder than ever when we do lose .
4. How to do our jobs
Each year is different. Most of us go through a cycle of sitting on the bench, being a role player, being a star and being a leader. We know how to wear many different hats and adjust to our role. Sometimes it would be game to game, but we would be the best we could be that day to help the team.
5. How to work hard
We don't deny students don't work hard with their jobs and school, and most of the time we can only practice 20 hours a week. But when we add travel, warm-ups and rehab into the mix, that number skyrockets. We missed an average of 20 days of school during the season. There's also the 6 a.m. training sessions and the physical exertion we have to put into our sport.
6. Adjusting on the fly
Once our season starts, we don't have much time to practice. We have to adjust and learn on the fly or we wouldn't be productive. Being an outdoor sport, we also had to adjust to weather conditions. We always had to move practices, games and times. Sometimes we had to adjust flight plans because of the weather. We are very adaptable and know how to adjust.
The amount of hours spent in our sport is unmatched for our whole lives. Most start from ages 8 to 10, so by the time we've graduated, we've spent about 14 years dedicating our lives to something we love and have excelled at. We're all in and know what it's like to put something besides ourselves first. This was our job for many years, and we're ready to make the same commitment to our careers.
So for all you employers out there dismissing student athletes, know this, what we lack in experience, we excel with in character and life skills. So take what you see as risk and invest in the person, not the experience.