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what you haveAthletes have so much to offer such as their accomplishments, mentoring and leadership abilities. These experiences can be used to motivate a community.

For many athletes, the end of their athletic career is difficult to deal with. The thrill of victory, the camaraderie, the relationships…the whole experience of being a college student-athlete is something very special. When it ends, well, like all things, there is an adjustment period that is sometimes rough. What the athlete needs to realize, though, is that he or she has much more left to offer.

The experience of being a college student-athlete helps young men and women develop a unique skill set, one that can be utilized in a variety of ways. Student-athletes have a lot to offer to a community even after their athletic careers have ended.

Former student-athletes make great mentors. Programs like Big Brother-Big Sister allow former athletes to model behaviors for young children. Former student-athletes have learned to develop routines, a way to manage their time and stay organized. Young children, as they move into more difficult classes, for example, need to find ways to get their schoolwork done. College student-athletes have learned to balance college coursework with the demands of a college sport and can help young people do the same.

In the news over the course of the past few years has been talk of how our youth is becoming increasingly obese. College student-athletes, for the most part, model a healthy lifestyle. They stay in shape year round and, not only do they enjoy exercise, they also learn to develop healthy sleeping habits.

It’s the little things that youth can learn from a mentor that will help them later in life. Making friends, whether it’s with teammates or kids on the playground, is an important life skill. Learning how to compete and give your best effort, whether on the playground or on a college football field, is another skill that our youth desperately need modeled.

So, when the athletic career ends, remember that as a student-athlete, you still have more to give. Your experiences can help to mold a future and allow someone to have the same, if not better, experiences that you enjoyed as a college student-athlete. Find mentoring opportunities in your community and give back.

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