Norma and I had the opportunity this evening to talk with University of Illinois athletes about career possibilities in Psychology/Social Work. The Intercollegiate Athletic Department has a career night every year where all athletes go to a big gym where professionals from a range of careers are ready to sit and talk with them for a bit. I'm not sure how they got my name but I agreed to do it and Norma was able to come to offer a Social Work career perspective. I wanted to write about it because it surprised me.
I've been pretty jaded lately but meeting with these young women and men was very fun and reminded me of why I've enjoyed working with college students. Norma and I met with soccer players, swimmers, gymnasts, and volleyball players. They were so eager and motivated and friendly. They were also a little scared and vulnerable. This combination is what drew me to work with college students in the first place. One thing that was especially funny was that this gaggle of big football players was walking around and they all stayed in a group like it was a little scary to venture out on their own. Just young boys, really, despite all the bluster.
As athletes, they are clearly dedicated and know how to persevere and work hard. It was really cool to be around that energy. One of the drawbacks of not being on campus any more is that I don't see students who are doing well as often. I guess I forget that most college students enjoy their lives. It was really nice to see that again!