Caiti Opp, a softball player at Greenville University, recently had the opportunity to attend the NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis, Indiana. Opp was one of 200 student-athletes that spent four days learning and exploring potential careers in sports. Caiti took the time each day to write down daily entries describing her trip. You can read all about Caiti's trip to the NCAA Career in Sports Forum below.
May 31st - Day One
After waking up early and traveling all morning, I arrived in Indianapolis to meet my roommate and register for the Career in Sports Forum. When I got to my hotel, I found out that I have been assigned to room with a Division I volleyball player from the University of Tennessee. Being a Division III athlete, I was slightly intimidated at first, but we hit it off really well and enjoyed getting to know each other. When transitioning to the National Office, I was completely in awe that people really get to come work there everyday. After getting registered for the weekend, we kicked off the Forum with two sessions that included four different speakers telling us of their journey to working in intercollegiate athletics. The three biggest takeaways from these opening sessions were to be authentic in your leadership, seize the moment, and that "the time is now." We were then taken to the NCAA Hall of Champions, where a Next Steps fair was being held. This event gave us the opportunity to talk to individuals in the industry from the NCAA and colleges all across the country. This session was definitely my favorite of the day because it gave me the opportunity to learn about different careers and network with some awesome people.
June 1st - Day Two
Day two was set to be a long one, with the first session starting at 8:30 in the morning and not ending until 6:00 that evening. Today, we would be listening to professionals from all three divisions. Director of Academic and Membership Affairs, Quintin Wright, also gave a presentation taking us through all 8 departments at the national office, and how they come together to create one organization. Not knowing exactly what career path I want to take after graduation, I found today to be super helpful. The speakers gave so much information on all the different careers that you can have, and it really helped to clarify what I want and don't want in my future jobs.
June 2 - Day Three
Day three was set up similar to day two, with sessions going all day long. However, sessions were smaller today, which gave us more opportunities to interact not only with each other, but also with the speakers. The sessions presented today were more personalized, covering personal DiSC assessments, making the perfect resume, and how to network. My favorite session of the day, and maybe even of the entire Forum, was the DiSC assessment. Weeks before arriving at the Forum, all participants had to take the DiSC assessment that would show our workplace priorities and preferences. All 230 student-athletes that participated in the Forum received their own personal packet about their DiSC style. These packets helped to explain not only your behavioral tendencies and workplace preferences, but also the same aspects of the other DiSC styles as well. We learned that this assessment is often used in the workplace to improve the way employees work together. The DiSC assessment gave me insight into my own personality and preferences, and gave me a better understanding of how I might fit into different roles in my future workplace.
June 3 - Day Four
The last day was hectic as everyone gathered their stuff to head home before the first session began. The few sessions that were scheduled for the day wrapped up the majority of what we had learned over the weekend. In the span of four days, we all had the opportunity to network with over 250 people. Spending the entire day with the other participants meant that we had the chance to talk about anything from sports, to school, to our personal lives and anything in between. I walked into the Forum with 229 strangers and walked away with many new friendships. Not only had we networked with each other for our future careers, but we had created relationships that would go beyond working in the sports industry. Reflecting on the weekend as a whole, I would definitely say that it was a learning experience that brought a huge amount of knowledge and personal growth. Saying that I am grateful to have had this opportunity would be an understatement, as I know that this weekend was life-changing for all of us. It allowed me to explore possibilities for my future and step out of my usual comfort zone. I was so proud to represent Greenville University and the SLIAC at this awesome event.
- #SLIACtion -