What is your current job title and how long have you been with your current employer?
I am a football coach. I was a quality control coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for from 2012-14. I am currently interviewing with other teams, both professional and collegiate, and I hope to land a position with my next team very soon.
What was your major/degree(s) at Springfield College?
I majored in movement and sports studies and minored in health and coaching.
Reflecting on your education at Springfield College, what would you cite as the most impactful experience?
The most impactful experience I had at Springfield College would certainly be the immediate exposure we had with teaching. Many of my high school friends who studied education at other institutions often shared with me that they didn’t have experiences teaching until their senior year in college. At Springfield College, we were out and teaching the very first semester of our first year. Currently, I am in the coaching profession, however coaching is teaching. Because I had such early exposure to teaching, I had a chance to improve, adapt, and sharpen my skills at a very young age. This early experience I had with teaching at Springfield College has, without a doubt in my mind, had a significant impact on the coach I am today.
How did the career center assist in your transition from being a student to a professional in the workplace?
The career center helped me while I was attending Springfield College, they helped me upon graduating from the College, and they help me still to this day! Colleges have what I call “hidden help.” There are people employed by institutions all across the world with the sole responsibility to help and prepare students for life after college. Every student at Springfield College should know about the career center, where they are located and what they have to offer. I would encourage every first-year student, upon arrival to Springfield College, to make a visit to the career center to introduce themselves. This special group of people at Springfield College helped to prepare me for my first interview, they helped me with my resume, they helped me make my first business card, and they even educated me on dining etiquette! And I’m sure I only experienced the tip of the iceberg as to the skills and resources the career center has to offer. Most importantly, they believed in me and my aspirations. To this day I have Scott Dranka of the Springfield College Career Center on speed dial. Scott has been in my ring corner from the first day I met him. I have been around a ton of great professionals in my life, people highly regarded for their knowledge in career development and preparation, but trust me when I tell you that Scott Dranka is the best in the business. This man and his team continue to play a crucial role in my career today. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Scott Dranka and his team supporting and believing in me every step of the way.
What advice would you give to recent alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?
I would encourage all students’ in college to accomplish three tasks while studying at their institutions:
Identify what you love to do. It’s such a simple question but yet it’s also a very difficult one to answer. I firmly believe it’s important for a college student, regardless of the major or institution, to identify what he or she loves spending time doing. Author Napoleon Hill once said, "In your search for the work for which you are best fitted, it will be well if you bear in mind the fact that you will most likely attain the greatest success by finding out what work you like best, for it is a well-known fact that a man generally best succeeds in the particular line of endeavor into which he can throw his whole heart and soul." When someone chases a career doing something he or she loves, the chances of them being successful is significantly high.
Surround yourself around those who do what you love to do as a profession. After you identify what you love to do, begin your search to associate and surround yourself around those who do what you love as a career. Internships, volunteer work, and fellowships are all great ways to “getting your foot in the door” in the career path of your choice. My biggest pet peeve with this approach is students who turn down or filter out opportunities that are non-paying. Hands-down some of the best experiences I have ever had were the ones where I wasn’t getting paid. Look at it this way: If you are the employer and you see this young person working hard and pouring everything they have into this single experience all for free, wouldn’t you want to see what this person can do while being paid? Of course you would. I have seen it time and time again where interns or volunteers got hired full time after volunteering because they did such a great job. Internships are in essence “feeder systems.” I am a firm believer that if you chase dollar signs instead of the best learning experience, you’re eventually going to run into a problem. Do everything you can to surround yourself around those who are great at what you love to do, at whatever the cost or sacrifice may be, because in the long run you will be well prepared for your next task!
Find a way to make a career out of your love and passion. If you take care of step #2 to the best of your ability, then step #3 should basically work itself out. By surrounding yourself around those who do what you love to do as a profession you are entering a network. The best employers I know do a great job of introducing the young staffers to their friends and colleagues in the profession. This network will help you find full-time opportunities. And don’t be afraid to share your dreams and aspirations with your higher ups, in fact, I encourage it! As many opportunities I have seen capitalized by a person’s persistence and hard work, I have also seen opportunities slip away because an entry-level employee didn’t vocalize their professional aspirations and because of that the employer gave the job to someone else simply because they didn’t know someone within their building wanted it. If you make a profession out of something you love to do you will never work a day in your life.
Define your career path and future aspirations.
I am a football coach. The past three years I have been in the National Football League. Prior to that I coached at the collegiate level. Whether in NFL or NCAA, my aspirations are to continue to coach, teach, develop, and mentor football players/student-athletes. Teaching is my passion and football is what I love to do. Being a football coach for the rest of my career would be a dream come true.