Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.- John C. Maxwell
In 2014 I wanted to become a sport psychologist. In 2015, I was rejected by the three universities I applied. I needed more education in athletics, but I knew I couldn’t afford another bachelor degree or leave my job. I found Michigan State University had an online Masters of Arts in Education program where I could concentrate in sport leadership and coaching. I seized the opportunity.
Within the first three semesters of this program, I participated in four kinesiology classes offered in my program. Each class gave me new insights of a coach’s perspective and how to be more effective in practice and competitions. Even though the knowledge I was attaining was in the field of athletics, I wasn’t coaching. I was learning, but I couldn’t apply my newly acquired knowledge. My eyes were fixated on my aspiration to become a PhD recipient and I barely cared about what I was actually doing.
Completing the kinesiology courses, my confidence grew and I wanted to reapply for a PhD in Sport Psychology. Again, after three rejection letters, while completing my last 3 courses of my masters, I realized I’m okay with the denials. As much as I wanted to pursue sport psychology, I now understand my initial path wasn’t wrong, just in the wrong direction. Along with my kinesiology courses, I participated in courses encompassing education inquiry and postsecondary education. Through these classes, my future goals began to reform.
My passion towards athletics still burns, however, through history papers, conceptual thinking, and learning how to plan a higher education class, I started questioning how I could positively effect our educational system. Participating in these postsecondary education classes, I began to reflect on my time as a student-athlete along with the attitude I’ve witnessed towards postsecondary education. The stress they are under from their coaches, maintaining or earning a scholarship, and keeping their academics on track can be a lot for any 18 or 22-year-old to manage. In addition to those stressors, they also face normal student stress factors. When most students leave with a bachelor's degree, they are faced with student loans, locating a job, finding a place to live, and affording basic life necessities. Many students struggle for years finding their calling and end up with a job or career that has nothing to do with what they spent their time and money pursuing.
Although my fundamental question has changed drastically from walking into this program to leaving, my love for working with athletes is still the same. The past few months have brought me clarity in understanding of how I want to work with collegiate student-athletes. For now, my new direction in life is to become an academic advisor that can help student-athletes achieve their academic, athletic, and future professional goals. My new goal will allow me to ease the transition stages along with the in between years students face. Overall, my Masters of Education has given me an exciting new opportunity to pursue athletic academic advising.