Being a part of college athletics is a life changing experience. Along with the countless hours of rehabilitation, athletic advising meetings, conditioning and practice times, it is essential to find “free time” to be involved in extracurricular activities as an aspiring public relations professional.
This year, I am working in athletic communications for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, virtually working with John Steven Vita Communications as the account associate and I am a teaching assistant for a business communication course all while being a full time student athlete on the gymnastics team.
The most common question I receive is, “how do you do all of that on top of college athletics?” The answer is simple; I have learned exceptional time management skills and learned to love being busy.
Here are three reasons it is important to get involved, even if you have full-time commitments such as participating in college athletics.
1. You will have the ability to network.
Networking is a crucial part of becoming a successful public relations professional. Through my involvement in college athletics, I have gained many mentors that will help guide me even aftercollege. With my work experiences, I have gained even more mentors that can help me develop a successful career. I know at the end of the day that I have countless people I can ask for guidance as I map out my future career goals.
2. It will help improve your time management.
I have learned to love being busy. I know that I will be able to put my heart and soul into working for long hours because I have adapted my life to do so effectively. I know exactly how much sleep I need, how much I need to eat to focus properly and when to take a break. All of these things are essential to creating a successful public relations career.
3. You’ll develop leadership skills.
In my time on the gymnastics team, I have learned how to effectively lead my teammates. I have also observed enough to know how to read people, when to push someone further and when enough is enough. Combining my leadership skills on the gymnastics team with my leadership skills learned through my work experience, I know how to properly lead a team of very different people to accomplish a task.
I will be forever grateful for all of the lessons I have learned through my athletic career and work career while at the University of Illinois.
Heather Foley is a senior at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. She is on the gymnastics team and has been a PRSSA Illinois member for the past three years. She is looking to further her public relations career in Tampa, Florida upon graduation.