Being an athlete all my life has given me many things,
including bruises, scrapes, sore legs and even some trips
to the emergency room. What I didn’t realize at the time
was how much athletics was aiding me in my personal and professional development.

It is crazy to believe that as a freshman in high school I was seriously considering where I wanted to go to college. Most of my friends were still acclimating themselves to high school while I was doing campus visits almost every weekend. From emailing back and forth with college coaches to networking at recruiting events, preparing for college sports had already started to benefit my written and verbal communication skills from a young age.

Fast forward to freshman orientation. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into until after my first early morning workout when I was sprinting to make it to class on time. Time management is everything. Through these experiences I learned how to fit class, practices, study sessions, workouts, meetings, office hours, physical therapy and even more all into one day.

On top of the communication skills I developed throughout the recruiting process, I also learned how to communicate effectively on and off the field with my teammates and coaches. Everyone prefers different styles of communication. If you learn everyone’s style you can avoid miscommunication, which is imperative in any team’s success. Sports has helped me constantly practice leadership and communication skills.

Every sport, including my favorite lacrosse, has a winner and a loser at the end of every game. This drives competition, yes, but also teaches one to face failure and find a way to pick up their head and work harder at practice the next day. This was imperative in teaching me that failure is okay, and to use it as a driver in finding the motivation to get better.

The biggest motivator for me has been recovering from two knee surgeries. Moments after my first collegiate goal I felt a pop in my knee and went down. Through a year filled with crutches, limping, swelling and nagging pains, I pushed myself to get back on the field stronger than I was before. Two years after that initial pop I felt the same sensation in my opposite knee. I knew exactly what had occurred. I laid on our turf for the second time with frightened thoughts rushing through my head. The most important thought was the motivation and light at the end of the tunnel, which would drive me through that recovery once again. Face adversity, find what motivates you, and always think those positive thoughts.

Now I’ve started my first job. I am a team player, self-motivated, always looking for the positive in my daily tasks, conscious of my time, and an experienced communicator.

The wins and losses are just a record on a piece of paper, but the lessons and qualities that sports gave me through those years will help propel me in my career.

– Holly Bertschmann, assistant account executive