Graduate School: The Ultimate Experience

This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.

By Willie A Bradley Jr., @Coachb7786

For some, graduate school is needed to put them over the edge. Photo via Pexels

For some, graduate school is needed to put them over the edge. Photo via Pexels

I began my journey applying to graduate school over a year ago, after finishing up a high school football coaching stint at Lincoln Pius X High School in Lincoln, Neb. I said to myself, “I’m committed to better my education." From that moment on, I started applying to grad schools across the country. This was a long and tedious process. After receiving several no’s, I finally received my first yes from the University of Minnesota.

I was elated, after receiving my first grad school acceptance letter! A week later, I received a phone call from the University of Washington offering me acceptance into the Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership (IAL) program. I felt proud. It was a great achievement for myself. After taking a few days to let everything to sink in, I made the bold decision to make the move to Seattle. I felt that it would be a once in a lifetime experience.

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As a grad student, I picked up a book called H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always HustleThese three h’s I applied to my internship, school, and life. 1. You must stay humble; no work is too small for you. Volunteer your time as often as possible. 2. Hustle your butt off! Often, in my internship at the University of Puget Sound, you will find me jogging or walking at a fast pace during events to take care of a task right away. 3. Stay hungry. Make goals for yourself both short and long term and go after them! Envision yourself taking those steps to accomplish those goals. Always ask yourself what will it take for you to reach your goal. Talk with a mentor or supervisor about these goals and how they can help you achieve them.

A great thing about grad school is that you must get out of your comfort zone. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Whether it's networking or public speaking, get out of your bubble. The key in this business that I have learned so far is it’s not about who you know, rather it’s about who knows you.

My suggestion to everyone is set out monthly goals for yourself. Whether it’s networking or applying to grad schools, make sure you do your research. Invest in getting to know people, no matter the title. I’ve been grateful to connect with administrators from TCU, Rutgers, and Washington. They all provided me with great advice and some awesome book suggestions that I’ve already added to my ever-growing book collection.

Lastly, balancing school, internship, and networking has been tough. It really opened my eyes on how to prioritize things so I won’t get behind. In a few months, I will graduate with my master's degree from the University of Washington and this grad school journey will come to an end.

I want to say to all who are reading this and are on the fence about grad school, DO IT! Take the leap and invest in yourself.

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