“Student-Athlete life is very different from the working world- Be prepared!”

Diving into the working world after being a student athlete for 16 years, the environment change from court to desk is tangible, but my time on the former has definitely prepared me.

In the working world, time is money – and nobody knows how to manage time better than a student athlete with their practice timetables and school schedules. After all, we were expected to dominate not just our game, but also our academia.

When it comes to accountability, student athletes are strong team players and excellent individuals. Athletes once part of a sports team had to learn to work together if they desired their team to succeed. As a sports player, I was accountable and responsible for my actions which would affect the team negatively or positively. But as an employee, my actions directly affect me and my work, and maybe the company’s reputation, but not my colleagues.

The ability to overcome failure develops later in most employees in comparison to student athletes, because to get to a collegiate level, the latter have most likely failed more than they’ve won. I have lost many matches and cost me and my team sometimes, but I never gave up. My idol Michael Jordan once said “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Let’s talk about responsibilities, they will be prevalent throughout our lives – just looking different at every phase. As a student athlete, my responsibilities were acing my tests and tournaments, doing strength training, conditioning, practice, travel, and play games. My parents would pay for most of my expenses too, but now as a working adult and employee, I have financial freedom and with it comes new responsibilities — like paying your own bills, providing for family, rent , ration, acing tasks given by your superiors, etc.

Being a former student athlete has also helped me become more adaptive to the environment because I have had very early mornings (to workout), very late nights (to complete assignments due) and sometimes a mix of both for 2 – 3 days in a row. As a result of that, my social life took hits but when compared to my working schedule as an employee, it’s less hectic. Yes, though I have to work late sometimes, I no longer have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to exercise.

It is mentally strenuous as an employee, but as a student athlete both physical and mental stress is involved. Mental stress is common in both, but it’s so different when you demand excellence from yourself on court or in academics, compared to when someone else demands excellence out of you. It puts a lot of pressure on yourself, while it’s already hard to live up to your own expectations it’s even harder to live up to others’.