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Developing Tigers: Transition Workshop

Developing Tigers: Transition Workshop

By Colby Lanham || Clemson Athletic Communications

On Tuesday evening, senior student-athletes attended the Athlete Identity Transition Workshop in the McFadden Building Team Meeting Room. A part of the Four-Year Development Plan along with the Networking Bash and Resume Workshop, the Athlete Identity Workshop focused on preparing senior class student-athletes for the transition to life after sports. The workshop was facilitated by Jonathan Orr, the Executive Director of Athletic Transition Services, who spoke from his own experiences transitioning from sports into his career.

“We help provide student athletes with the tools and strategies needed to have a healthy and successful transition to life after sports,” Orr said. “We help them identify the common challenges that a lot of athletes face once they transition out of sports, and how to overcome those challenges.”

Orr, a former football player and student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, started Athletic Transition Services in January 2014 with the main goal of helping student-athletes transition into careers and mapping out plans for their respective futures.

“We work on what I call a ‘game plan’ for the “next season of life,” Orr said. “After we do some assessments, learning our values and things of that nature, the game plan helps set goals based on what we learn about ourselves.

“We set goals based on what’s important to us. And that’s just the first part of it; we set a goal, a short-term goal that we want to accomplish within a year once they’re done with sports.  From there we want to plan, step by step, how to accomplish that goal, and that’s really the initial game plan.”

Through the workshop, Orr led the student-athletes through the aspects of maintaining positive identities after sports and effective ways of managing their emotions. The student-athletes were led through several types of activities including a transferable skills assessment where they reflected on their overall experiences as athletes through their years at Clemson and recognized that they can take something from their time as athletes both on and off the field.

The athletes also completed their own values assessment, where they wrote down the values they deemed most important to them personally and in a career. Orr facilitated an activity called “Heart, Head, and Hustle” in which the athletes wrote things they were passionate about, known as the Heart, and the transferable skills they possess, known as the Head. Once they had both, they combined them into a statement, known as the Hustle. The senior student-athletes noted how much the workshop aided them in thinking about transitioning for life after sports once they graduate.

“This was a very helpful workshop,” diver Emily Yoder said. “I know with the end of the season coming in March, it will be very different when I don’t have the commitment I’ve had for the last 16 years of my life. This workshop was great in helping everyone prepare for that big transition.”

Many student-athletes are tuned into performing to the best of their ability each and every day. Soccer captain Phanuel Kavita remembers how tuned into he was as a freshman, and as he nears graduation, he’ll be even more tuned in to his future career.

“Tonight was great. It was interesting because I didn’t know what to expect, and it helped me to really think about the future and exactly what you want to do, ” Kavita said. “This event actually got me back to thinking about how me, one of my good friends, and my girlfriend always wanted to help others and potentially build a non-profit organization. But this event is a real help in just going through all the steps and realizing all the skills you have, and not just as an athlete.”

Outside of the message, the student-athletes appreciated the perspective of Jonathan Orr, who helped them continue to recognize their own value and ability for success in life after sports.

“I thought he was a tremendous speaker to begin with and that his presentation was fantastic. A lot of us are approaching graduation and entering the real world soon, and he did an excellent job of giving student-athletes perspective on what they want to do with their lives,” baseball player Patrick Andrews said. The workshop portion about values relating it to your career was personally eye-opening for me by allowing me to compare what I believed my values were as a person and the values I look for in a career and seeing how they matched up for opportunities in my life after sports.”