Thank you for the hundreds of emails I have received since season 2 of Last Chance U began streaming! The most frequently asked question I receive is what did I major in and how did I get where I am? I am honored that there are thousands of you inquiring about this career path and wanting to follow in my footsteps.
Like I told Isaiah Wright in the show;
I don’t have a magic wand or any fairy dust … I don’t have a magic answer for you when it comes to this career field either. There are no secrets and there isn’t one magic way to land in this career. There are many different avenues, majors and jobs – you just have to open up and see them.
I majored in Sport Communication as an undergraduate student (but I majored in that because I wanted to work for ESPN or on the media side of college athletics). After volunteering my time (and working in it for a short stint), I wasn’t sure if this was what I wanted to do. I decided to go back to school and get my master’s degree. I received my master’s degree in Sport Administration. It was while receiving my upper level degrees that I started to get passionate about college athletics and the role I wanted to play in it. I worked as a graduate assistant in the Athletic Academic Office at Mississippi State University while in school. This was my first interaction with and knowledge of Academic Counselors.
I realized quickly that the interactions with the student-athletes – helping them, guiding them, monitoring them and being involved in their actual day-to-day successes was what I was passionate about.
I graduated and then took a few doctorate level counseling classes (which I loved even more but timing didn’t allow me to continue).
Landing a job in college athletics is all about networking – who you know. I would suggest volunteering as a tutor/mentor at the college nearest you. Even if you aren’t tutoring/mentoring athletes, still – get the experience. Most all colleges have a student success center where they offer tutoring or other services to college students. There will be a separate center for the athletes of that college – Athletic Academic Center – more than likely. Both always need volunteers/workers.
However, college athletics is not the only place to impact young lives. Elementary, Middle and High schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA – other local organizations offer mentoring programs. If you are looking to make a difference or impact the lives of young people, then go out and find a local organization and volunteer.
Actual experience is the key! Education and degrees are important but experience is golden.