Do you ever get tired of studying and just want to stop learning? In 2004, at the age of 43, I made a decision that changed my life completely. I decided to go back to school and obtain my Master’s degree. I knew that it would be a challenge for many reasons.
- I hadn’t studied for a test for over 20 years.
- It would require a great deal of my “social time”.
- It would make trips to Nebraska to see family more challenging.
- It would mean learning how to balance work and school.
- I would most likely be the only one in my class over the age of 40 (or 30!).
- It would require quickly getting up to speed on computer technologies.
- It would require dedication, determination and drive.
I decided that I could, and would, accept the challenge and succeed. Much as when I’m playing or coaching volleyball, – I’m competitive 100% of the time – I knew that I had to complete my degree. I would not quit, take a break or waste my money.
After I had decided California State University – Long Beach (a/k/a Long Beach State) was the closest and most reasonably priced option, I began working on the requirements to be admitted:
- Statement of Purpose
- 3 References
- Proof of Completed GRE with minimum scores
After successfully completing these, I was officially admitted to the program (in 2004) where I would begin 18 months of non-stop classes. Each class was a very quick 2 months in length plus an internship had to be completed once every 6 months. Luck would be on my side with the 2004 NCAA Final 4 Volleyball Championship being held in Long Beach. I quickly applied for an internship and was accepted. Having the opportunity to see so many facets of a NCAA championship event, I knew that I had made the right decision. I also made contacts that have been helpful over the last 10 years. A full-time job and fast paced classes, as well as hours spent at a (non-paid) internship, made me quickly realize that my time management must be at its best.
The Program – 18 Months
The class curriculum consisted of classes in facility planning, sport law, sport finance, sport marketing/development & fundraising, research methods and 4 others that culminated in a Capstone presentation. With the exception of research methods – also known as statistics – I looked forward to class each week and learning from the various professors and sport professionals who taught the classes. It also included 2 additional internships – 1 with the USC Women’s Basketball Team and 1 with The Lynne Cohen Foundation with whom I was employed at the time.
There were many challenges:
- Study and preparing to take tests
- Learning the technology and trying to spend less time on that and more time on the actual subject I was suppose to be learning at the time
- Making presentations in front of my 29 other cohorts that were primarily in their mid-20’s
The Finish / A New Chapter
I successfully completed the program in 2006. I use the word “successful” based on the following:
- I obtained my Master of Arts in Kinesiology, Option: Sport Management
- I had maintained a GPA of more than 2.75
- 2 months after graduation I begin a position with the LBSU Athletic Department in Development
My grades weren’t as high as they were in high school and undergraduate school, but I realized that I had accepted my own challenge, tried my best, made professional connections, attained my degree and began a career in college athletics.
As I look back I realize how grueling that time period was in my life, but my competitiveness, determination and WILL – which serves everyone well in life – were the key traits that helped me attain my goal.
Adventure is a path. Real adventure, self-determined, self-motivated, often risky, forces you to have first hand encounters with the world.