football player scoring a touchdown

As the end of my undergraduate career rapidly approaches, I’m beginning to accept the notion that I’ll be out in the big, scary, real world all on my own in less than a year! I thought I knew everything after graduating public high school, not realizing how much more I had to learn. I’ve done many things during my time at Western Connecticut State University to prepare for my future career: I’ve maintained a high GPA, held a few part-time jobs, and had a great internship experience with Church Hill Classics.

However, I believe what has best prepared me for my future endeavors is being a player on WCSU’s women’s lacrosse team. Every lesson I’ve learned from being an athlete can be applied to the workplace. That’s why undergrad students who participate on college teams will be uniquely qualified in jobs for the future. Here are just a few examples of how college sports can prepare you for success.


womans rowing team

Working on a Team

Being on a sports team teaches you to work well with others. You and your colleagues (teammates) are all working toward a common goal, and the best way to accomplish that goal is to work together. Of course, as undergraduate students in group projects know, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. When job searching, be sure to ask how you will interact with your team and the best ways to work as a well-oiled machine.

Sometimes you will have to pick up the slack for a teammate who’s not performing well on a particular day. Be sure to ask how you can be of service or offer help. Other times you may need to reach out to others when you’re the one struggling and in need of help. Either way, athletes know how to support each other and understand the power behind the message, “united we stand, divided we fall.”

sprinter ready to run

Practice Makes Perfect

Athletes know that luck is not something you should rely on. You will probably never score the winning goal in a game if you haven’t scored in practice first. The endless drills, aching muscles, and relentless coaches always seem worth it when your team is celebrating its victory. The point is that sometimes things you don’t like may be instrumental in finding your dream job.

I’d be lying if I said I love the part-time jobs I’ve held since high school. However, I like to look at them as practice for when I finally achieve my dream career. Phones ringing off the hook, dealing with angry customers, hours upon hours of mind-numbing data entry…all experiences that are not particularly fun but are all necessary rites of passage. If you can view the things you don’t like about your job as “practice” for your future success, the half-empty glass suddenly seems half-full. Add a little hard work in there, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for career victory!

Confidence in Your Abilities

Playing sports teaches you to have self-confidence. If you’re up at bat with a fastball coming your way and all you are saying to yourself in your head is, “Oh man, there’s no way I can do this”…then strike three, you’re out! It’s about believing in yourself and your skill set. The best way to approach a difficult task is to believe you can do it from the get-go.

In your journey of setting goals to find a job that’s right for you, remind yourself of your credentials. If you have your degree in data science, for example, know that you’re uniquely qualified. If you stay focused, achieved your goals, and received your degree, you’ll have good luck in your future endeavors. Boost your self-confidence by framing your degree with a diploma frame made in the United States. If you’re interviewing online, having your framed degree on display will instill confidence in yourself and the hiring manager.

Confidence is especially important for any person whose profession requires them to make sales. Without confidence, your customers are not going to believe in you or the product. If you can conduct yourself with poise and charisma, it’s much easier to earn the respect and admiration of those around you. People with high self-confidence are not discouraged by defeat or failure. They can learn from their mistakes and use those lessons to create success in the future.

softball player

Setting Goals and Strategizing

If your boss plops a seemingly insurmountable pile of work onto your desk, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, remind yourself you can do it, and then make a game plan. Strategizing ahead of time gives you a clear focus and productive start. A game plan prevents you from diving into something when you’re feeling overwhelmed and unorganized.

Setting goals and achieving them, no matter how small, will go a long way in your career. Working in a clean, tidy, and organized workspace will help with the process. Fill your office with your framed degree, professional memberships, and other reminders that you’re uniquely qualified to handle daily tasks. These visual daily reminders will help you set goals, focus on tasks, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

There are countless other analogies that can be created about athletics and workplace success, like setting goals, hard work and determination, team bonding, or even accepting defeat. So whether you participate in sports or not, the next time you are on the field or in the stands, think about how much the game can teach you. What you learn may surprise you!


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