Signing my National Letter of Intent for Arizona, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I thought I knew what my scholarship entailed and the requirements to being a student athlete. What I didn’t know was how much support is provided to you as an athlete in more ways than I could ever imagine. Unfortunately, I feel like I took advantage of it way too late in my career. The academic department for athletes called, C.A.T.S Academics, offered one of the most important classes I have taken thus far in my collegiate career. The class is about transitioning out of your sport and how to prepare for the future. Each student had an opportunity to take one, two or three credits for this class depending on what they needed. I chose the three credit option and a lot of work was required to fulfill it, but it only made me better and more prepared as I transition into a professional career. I did not expect to get this much out of it and feel so grateful that it was offered! I truly want to recommend it to every student-athlete.
Transitioning out of my sport has not always been easy, but this class made it better. Before, I was so worried about applying to jobs, what my resume looked like, finances and even branding myself. This class helped and guided me to feel confident to apply for jobs. The speakers that came to talk to us all provided resources in addition to what C.A.T.S provided us. Some opportunities included getting a mentor, meeting with career services, money management and connections with previous athletes to see what they are doing now. I liked how we were required to attend networking events and reach out to employers to get our foot in the door. These events put me in an uncomfortable situation that only helped me prepare more for my future. I also had the opportunity of completing an internship as the Sports Information Director for the Women’s Tennis team at Arizona. My athletic experience helped me in this role because being a former player, I know the specific ‘lingo’, scoring and team. I can relate to the girls better than anyone because I was once one of them.
Every class was worthwhile. Sure, it was tough to have an 8 a.m. class, but each meeting was meaningful and I learned something valuable. I really resonated with one speaker: psychologist, Rachel Webb, because she made me realize the reasons for why I was choosing a certain path. I think she was able to get through to most of us and made us feel comfortable with where we are. I learned that everyone’s path is different and that it is okay to not know what you want to do yet. Truly, every speaker that came to us had an important lesson to share. For example, the finance guys explained the importance of having good credit, before I didn’t understand why it was necessary and so now I take it into consideration. These experiences prepared me for my transition because they showed me that I am capable of so much more! My writing, networking, communication and professional skills have improved tremendously thanks to this course and all the professors that played a part in helping the small class succeed and transition into something more. This class was so eye opening and I am so glad it is now an option for all student athletes! I think it should be offered across all universities and be available to every student.