Niagara University alumni returned to campus to speak on personal experiences, transitioning from a student-athlete identity to life in the professional world
By Taylor Kells
Special to NFP
Niagara University's student-athletes came together in the Gallagher Center gym for the "Life After Sports" event on Friday, April 15. The program was created in order to help student-athletes at Niagara University start making plans for life after their college sport ends, and to assist them in preparing for a career path in the near future.
The event helped explain to Niagara's student-athletes that their hard work will certainly pay off and that, by being a participant on their sports team, they've developed many skills to bring to the table in their desired fields of study.
This initiative was deemed to be beneficial to the student-athletes at Niagara University because it inspired them to set goals for themselves after "retirement" from their sport.
" 'Life After Sports' is really helpful to all of the athletes that are preparing to move on to bigger things," said Meghan Higley, a sophomore on the women's volleyball team. "Coming to this event really opened my eyes and made me realize that I will be able to attain any opportunities I'm confronted with in my future."
It can be difficult for an athlete to accept the reality his or her days as a student-athlete are over after college, but this initiative makes it possible for these students to identify transferable skills in order to map out a successful future.
According to the NCAA, less than 1 percent of collegiate athletes go on to play professional sports. Therefore, making a positive transition into the real world after collegiate athletics is extremely important and requires conscious effort.
The program was organized by the student-athlete advisory committee in order to reach out to students on campus seeking support or guidance for a plan after they depart from NU athletics. It was also meant to show Niagara's students that being a college athlete is a valuable experience that sets them apart from other competitors in the workplace.
Transferable skills students posses after collegiate athletics can include good teamwork, discipline, a strong work ethic, mental toughness and a competitive nature.
Athletes often times turn out to be some of the best employees based on traits they took after participating on a sports team. According to Forbes magazine, athletes "have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and even in the midst of failure until they succeed."
All college athletes are talented at what they do in their respective sports, but Niagara University's staff knows there's more to the student-athletes at this university than their athletic talents. Providing student-athletes with the advice, knowledge and guidance for a bright and successful future after graduation was the whole goal of this organized event Niagara University put together.
Even though the student-athletes at NU are very dedicated to their sports and academics, they have dreams and goals they want to accomplish outside of their competitive sports.
Sometimes all it takes is a little guidance and a push in the right direction to help someone find a starting point.
Held regularly, graduates from past years are invited to come back on campus for this event to help the current student-athletes become more comfortable with the start of their transition into the "real world." The alumni touch on how valuable an experience being a student athlete was for them and how much it benefited them in their careers.
Having the alums share their advice with students generated positive feedback from the student-athletes.
"It was really cool hearing what the alumni graduates had to say, since they already went through the same things we are going through right now," explained sophomore Tanner Morey. "It's always better to learn from someone who's had experience on these types of things, and having alumni come to this event definitely painted a clearer picture for me."
The program concluded with appetizers and a chance for students to interact and network with prospective employers from various companies, as well as other guests who attended the event.
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For more information on student athletes and life after a collegiate sport, visit these links: