The One Thing I Learned in College

We are constantly told to remember this or study that in school as if it’s the most important thing in the world. But in hindsight, is it really all that important? To be honest, if I had to go and retake every college exam right now, there is almost 0% chance I get even remotely close to the same grades. Did some of the content prepare me for the real world? Absolutely, but I’m not convinced all of it did. So what did I learn during my four years in college? Honestly, only one thing.

I had a professor, Dr. Ken Sylvester, who broke through my stereotypical “college-kid” mindset and forever changed my life. He told us on the first day of class that he wasn’t going to teach us in a traditional manner. There were no exams, very few papers, and our final was a 25 word essay. He gave us real world application materials and made sure that he was preparing us to succeed in a work environment. The one thing that will forever resonate with me is that we can accomplish anything and everything we desire if we put our mind to it and really work at it.

I had heard that statement before at least 20 times before, but I never really thought much of it. After the first semester of my junior year, I had some down time and began to really think about it. I decided to work harder than ever before and see if it would work out or not. If it failed, then at least I can say I tried. Little did I know that it was my hard work, not what I learned in a classroom that ultimately jumpstarted my career.

This is something that we all must consider in our daily lives. It’s our work ethic, our drive, our desire that really determines not only where we go in life, but also where our organization goes as well.¬† While writing this right now, I can’t help but think about the journey I have been on in the since I began my college career.

I went to high school in Monument, Colorado at Lewis-Palmer High School. It’s a small little town where the Wal-Mart is by far the biggest attraction there. I ended up going to a mid-sized college that most people have never heard of and didn’t exactly major in the “ideal” field for my dream job. When looking at it that way, there is no way that I should be able to beat out the best at other institutions.

That right there is part of my motivation in why I want to succeed and I know that I am capable of doing so. I take a lot of pride of what I accomplished in the last year: I interned with Colorado College, the Denver Outlaws, the Atlanta Falcons, and I’m now interning with the San Diego Chargers. I was hired into two coordinator roles and was promoted into a director role in each in less than a year. During all of this I was a full time student who needed a 3.8 GPA throughout his senior year in order to graduate Cum Laude, I ended up with a 4.0. All of this I can directly attribute to that lesson from Dr. Sylvester’s class that taught me that truly anything is possible.

In another lecture for my sports marketing class, we were told to write down our dream job on a piece of paper. This was “the first step in becoming successful”. I didn’t believe it at first. How can writing down a few words on a piece of paper be the start of something? Now it all makes sense. I have it written down with me to this day. Now that it is in writing, I feel obligated to accomplish this goal and I know that it is possible. Might as well post it on the internet too right?

I want to anchor one of the world’s largest sports television shows in the world and serve as an icon for the sports industry. After that I want to serve as a motivational speaker and possibly write a book telling people that their dreams are realistic and giving up should never be an option. Finally, I want to go back to UCCS and teach Sport Management students real world applications and help develop the next generation of sports professionals. Most importantly, I want to better lives and change the world for the better by using the power of sport.

I highly encourage everyone to think about their dream job and write it down. Understand that it may seem tough and out of reach to the standard person, but understand that we don’t have to be “normal” or “standard”. We all have the potential to achieve our craziest dreams and accomplish anything. Who says we can’t do it? We are the ones that determine our futures, not the people above or below us.

I can personally say that¬† during my four years of college, I didn’t learn a lot from my textbooks or lectures. At least not to the same extent as what I learned in the workplace. I used to think of college as a waste of time and almost a necessary evil. But now that I think about it, I was completely wrong. Higher education is supposed to prepare us for our future careers, and I can say that it definitely achieved that task. It may not have been conventional, but our work environment is anything but that. That one phrase, that one little thing that I learned in college helped me realize that anyone can make their dreams come true if they really desire to do so.

There is and always will be someone out there working harder and smarter than you are, what did you do today to get ahead of them?


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