An Athlete’s Life in the Real World


All sports careers come to an end at some point. Whether you like it or not, the ball will stop rolling and the real world will have to be the main focus. The question that arises after it’s over is whether or not the skills that you had learned will translate into the workplace. The answer is a definite yes. There are several things that are used as a college athlete that is crucial to the real world.

One former Piedmont athlete who would definitely agree would be former men’s basketball player Nick Ryan. After graduating in 2018, Ryan was able to get a job right out of college and was instantly applying skills he learned as an athlete.

“It’s crazy how much playing basketball helped me in my job,” Ryan said. “I honestly thought that once I was done playing I wouldn’t really take anything with me.”

Ryan explains that the biggest skill that he was able to take into his job was communication.

“Being able to talk to people is key. I am constantly talking to people who have different personalities, much like teammates. Knowing how to talk to these people to get the best out of them is exactly what I was doing on the court.”

Ryan also said that a universal skill that all athletes can use in the workplace is time management. He says that being able to multitask and prioritize is crucial in a world that tends to move very fast.

“Knowing how much time you have to do a certain task is kind of like having to know the time, situation and score of a game. Knowing what is most important in that period of time of the game is exactly like having to prioritize tasks for a specific deadline in the workplace.”

Ryan also issues advice for senior athletes getting ready to graduate, explaining that just because the ball stops rolling, doesn’t mean that the skills you learned need to be thrown out of the window.

“Don’t make the same mistake I did when I entered my job,” Ryan said. “You may not realize this yet but being an athlete gives you an advantage over so many people when you get out here into the real world.”