Graduate Wisdom for Athletic Trainers for the First-Year Post-School Journey

The season following graduation ushers forth a blend of prospects and a touch of existential anxiety. A new chapter looms, teeming with infinite opportunities – whether from finishing undergrad or your professional athletic training program, venturing straight into a career in athletic training, or embracing unconventional paths. This juncture brims with promise, a potent mixture of liberation and trepidation.

Filled with good intentions, graduation advice spans from the mundane (“Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!”) to the bewildering (avoidance of sleep for enhanced productivity). Yet, those who mentor athletic training students, financial experts, and seasoned life navigators offer a different narrative. Their wisdom for fresh athletic training graduates centers on the triad of relationships: the relationship with work, finance, and self.

Reframing Work as a Life Enabler

Shift the paradigm – envisage work as a foundation for life, not the other way around. Simone Stolzoff, author of “The Good Enough Job: Reclaiming Life from Work,” advocates crafting a vision for a fulfilled life, one that work bolsters. The approach isn’t about neglecting career or personal life; it’s about harmony and intentionality. Align your aspirations and market demand, evading the ensnaring vortex of singular pursuits.

Detach Emotion from Employment

Gabe Dunn, host of “Bad With Money” podcast, imparts a blunt truth –  organizations and corporations are not your friends. Striking a balance at the first job is vital; avoid exhaustion or burnout for the sake of loyalty. Safeguard yourself and be proactive in accessing all benefits – 401(k) matching, HR perks, and the like. Remember, it’s your welfare; don’t hesitate to ask and attain.

Forging a Meaningful Impact

“Find your life’s purpose” – a familiar refrain at graduations, but it’s not a passive discovery. Kendall Cotton Bronk, psychology professor, champions purpose cultivation. Reflect on your aspirations, strengths, and contributions. Purpose evolves, shaped by introspection, commitment, and the desire to make a mark on the world. 

Master the Art of Financial Conversations

Speak openly about money – request annual raises, discuss finances with friends, unshackle the taboo. Vivian Tu, personal finance expert and host of “Networth and Chill,” challenges societal norms. Silence only favors corporations, not individuals. Engage in candid money discussions, advocating for your financial wellness. Know your worth and others’ financial realities.

Architect of Your Learning Odyssey

Post-school life lacks structure, creating a vacuum. Cece Xie, privacy and tech lawyer, recommends designing your own curriculum at the “University of You.” Break the future into “semesters,” focus on personal goals, and reject the notion that others define your path. Defend your aspirations against societal judgments. Find continuing education courses that are relevant to you, your goals, and your clinical practice. 

Embrace Fluidity and Self-Change

Resist the pressure to rigidly stick to plans. Rainesford Stauffer, author of “All The Gold Stars: Reimagining Ambition and the Ways We Strive,” champions adaptability. Evolving interests and ambitions herald growth, not failure. Changing direction doesn’t equate to surrendering dreams; it’s embracing new facets of yourself. Unearth the freedom in transformation.

Crafting Personal Budgets

The allure of a paycheck is real, but fiscal wisdom begins now. Alyssa Mairanz, founder of “Adulting in the Real World,” advocates swift budget establishment. Demystify net versus gross income, prioritize expenses, and save for both emergencies and adventures. Test different budgeting methods to find your stride.

Divide to Conquer

Joanna Grover, co-author of “The Choice Point: The Scientifically Proven Method to Push Past Mental Walls and Achieve Your Goals,” encourages dissecting monumental goals. Ponder the small step you can take each day. Gradual progress fortifies your resolve and facilitates informed choices.

Release the Comparison Shackles

In the professional sphere, the only competition is yourself. Minda Harts, workplace equity consultant and author of “The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table,” underscores the power of personal goals. Eschew comparisons and embrace your unique trajectory.

With these pearls of wisdom, you stand primed to traverse post-graduation athletic training terrain. The journey beckons, and your map is waiting for you! 

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