Dear Younger Me: Don’t be Afraid

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While my career is still young and I continue my search for the next opportunity to learn, these are things I wish I could tell my younger self.

This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.

It’s okay to not know what is next. Image via Pexels.

I have been a marketing intern at Utah State University for nearly two and a half years. I have learned from great industry minds and also matured as a person. While my career is still young and I continue my search for the next opportunity to learn, grow, and refine my skills, there are things I wish I could tell my younger self.

Dear Younger Me:

1. Don’t Be Afraid

Your fear of reaching out and talking to someone in the athletics department could have given you 1–2 years earlier start as a marketing intern. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in new or unfamiliar positions because you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. Yes, it’s true that you had a late start in the industry but that is OK. You definitely could have avoided some of the holes you dug yourself into as a freshman if you hadn’t been afraid to change your major and get into classes that would have helped you learn more about your passion earlier on.

2. Don’t Force It

If something just isn’t going to work, accept it and know that something even better is on its way. If it is too hard to push or make a door open, try the next door. I can guarantee that what’s behind that locked door you’re trying to force open is not meant for you. Take a step back and look for the open door. You always need to work hard but if you’re just not able to gain any momentum, get help and move on.

You don’t need to rush through college or put yourself through the strain of balancing 6 jobs, a marriage and personal time. Make yourself and your relationships more of a priority and find happiness in simplicity. Avoid the burn out by cutting out the things you are trying to force and that don’t bring you joy.

3. You Are Better than You Know

What if I told you that in two years you will be looking at getting a full-time job or going to grad school? You will have been able to learn from some of the best minds in the industry as changes occur at Utah State. You think you’re just going to have fun rolling T-shirts and shooting them to fans as an intern but you will have an opportunity to be involved in creating and implementing your own marketing plans and making a noticeable difference in the athletics department. Don’t sell yourself short; volunteer to go above and beyond expectations and you will be able to soar to heights beyond what you can imagine.

4. Always Express Gratitude

You have always been great at expressing thanks. This is something that will become one of your trademarks as you go through your life. Say thanks to everyone who has helped to mold you into the hard worker you have become. Express gratitude to those who support you and help you achieve your career goals.

You are in for one wild ride. Sometimes things won’t work out the way you would like them to or on your preferred timetable, but don’t lose faith! When that door doesn’t budge, it simply means something even better is waiting for you elsewhere. Don’t give up. You will graduate and you will make an impact because of the work ethic you were taught from a young age.

Keep it up and be proud of the success that you have already achieved and will achieve and don’t let your own fear or shyness hold you back. Get ready for big things to happen and enjoy the journey along the way.


Andrew Sproul (@AndrewSproul90)

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