The Jump from Being a Teammate on the Field to One off it

February 7, 2024
3 min read

Six months ago, my career as a competitive athlete officially came to an end. I graduated from Harvard University in May, where I was fortunate to play on their Division I Lacrosse team all four years, and started working as a Strategy Analyst for Next League shortly thereafter.  In reflecting on the past six months, I have found my time as a student athlete has benefited me tremendously as I’ve made the jump from being a teammate on the field to being one in the office. 

One of the biggest benefits to playing sports in high school, and even more so in college, was learning how to multitask and prioritize my commitments. Successfully balancing classes, homework, exams, social commitments and early morning practices has helped me manage my time and prioritize my work on any given day.  

As an athlete, you become accustomed to receiving both positive and constructive feedback, whether it be about your individual training or performance on the field. The hardest part is learning how to digest it, learn from it and make changes. While the feedback I received as an athlete is different from the feedback I receive today, the ability to digest it and learn from it is the same. I’ve learned how to moderate the stress around it and zero in on the important, learning moments. 

Sports are incredibly humbling in that there is always something more to learn or get better at. I carry that same mindset with me into work knowing that I have a lot to learn from those around me. Asking lots of questions, sitting in meetings, taking notes and being prepared is really no different today than it was while I was a competitive athlete. As a teammate, you get better by playing off each other’s strengths; the same thing feels true in a corporate environment too. 

I am from St. Louis which is not a lacrosse hotbed. While in high school, in order to play at the highest level, I played for club teams across the country. In doing so, I was put in situations where I did not know my teammates; however, we had to come together quickly and play as one. I had to learn how to integrate into an existing team and add value as a new addition. It has been the same experience transitioning into my full-time role. As a recent college graduate, I am constantly learning how I can provide value to my group and fill the gaps where possible. 

Upon reflection, being an athlete has given me the confidence to speak with anyone and I am comfortable in my ability to create meaningful relationships with them. This has helped make my transition to a work environment relatively seamless, especially as one of the most junior team members at Next League. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I had while as a student athlete, just as I am for being part of this great team. Together with my teammates, I helped contribute to many successes on the field and look forward to continuing to do so while off the field at Next League too.