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Perspective from a Recent Graduate of Baseball and College

June 28th, 2017
By Sean Mason

When the clock on our playing career strikes midnight, there is often a bit of uncertainty at what is next and how could all these years spent as an athlete have prepared us for our next journey. This weariness towards the future is not uncommon. As a college baseball player I watched a lot of my friends who didn’t play baseball find promising internships that led to job offers while I spent my summers refining my game in different summer leagues across the country. I wanted to share a few of the lessons learned from my time spent as a baseball player that will help lead me as I phase into the next chapter of my life after graduating this spring and believe they can help you think about how your own experiences can be of value wherever you may find yourself today.

I recall going to a career fair where employers were more interested in talking about baseball than anything related to jobs. Conversations revolved around playing myself, their playing days, and even being shown pictures of their kids playing baseball. This type of fascination had happened before but had never quite struck me to the same extent. Being a college athlete was a quick way to capture someone’s attention. My time as a baseball player gave me an abundance of stories that will stick with me for the rest of my life. The common interest and bond with baseball can be a great door opener to getting the chance to show talents off the field especially if you tell it with the same enthusiasm you played with. Below are three lessons I believe are easiest for a college graduate to carry into beginning their career.

Discipline/Hard Work

Discipline and hard work are the most cliche things written about what it means to be an athlete but the fact of the matter is that it’s true. Days as a collegiate student-athlete are long. As we move into the real world, the tasks begin to differ but one of the reasons why employers love college athletes is knowing the time commitment put into being successful. We all can recall days that involved waking up before the sun to do a workout followed by heading to class for a full slate of learning before finishing the day with a lengthy practice. Being able to follow through on what was important not only on the field but in the classroom demonstrates the ability to make your career a priority.

Competition

Playing D1 baseball opened my eyes to the reality that college athletics is a business. Think about the limited amount of scholarships or coaches who make a living by the success of you, the athlete. Everyone wants one of these limited spots. Once earning a coveted spot after being recruited out of high school it turned into a fight everyday not only to find playing time but to keep a roster spot. The “funneling out” of players as you advance up the ranks is perfect preparation for anything you decide to do after playing. In business, there are always others looking to progress their career. Everyone is replaceable and shouldn’t be forgotten outside the lines of the baseball field.

Dealing with Authority/Coaches/Bosses

In the real world, unless you find yourself unleashing the next big idea, you will most likely have a boss that guides you along the way. The best news about this is that we’ve been doing this for a long time. If you’ve made your way into at least college ball, you probably have had more coaches than you can count on your fingers with a wide variety of demeanors and styles. You’ve learned how to deal with them and still manage to complete the task at hand. You’ve had the tough conversations when things weren’t going well and the shared successes when wins were at a premium. Maybe you’re like me and haven’t held a long term job quiet yet. This doesn’t mean you don’t know how to handle these types of interactions in the business world. You have already held a working relationship with your coaches. Now it is time to transition these same experiences to business.

Thanks Sean for sharing your thoughts from your college experience. Sean recently graduated from Appalachian State University. He has been accepted to graduate school and will pursue his Master’s at the University of Texas. You can connect with Sean on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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