Using Downtime to Advance Your Career

This is posted as part of our Summer Intern Blog Series. Be sure to come back each week as interns from around the country share their summer experiences with us!

By: Todd Rogers, @Todd_TTU

A journal is a great way to keep track of your goals. Picture Courtesy: Todd Rogers

This week, along with the next, will probably be the quietest two weeks of my internship. With people both being out for vacation as well as attending NACDA in Dallas this week, you can imagine that the office is feeling a little lonely. However, in a way, this presented me with an even better opportunity to learn and grow professionally. During some of my down time, I am able to fill my personal journal with things I have learned and write down transcripts of twitter chats, such as #YPSportschat. I am also able to fill this journal with notes from any books I am reading. While I am sure this may not be the case for everyone, I have learned that I get so much more out of reading if I take physical hand-written notes. After finishing my reading each day, it allows me to look back and reflect on what I have learned and I can always go back and read what I wrote as a refresher. It also becomes a fairly handy resource whenever I have a face-to-face meeting with people, as I am able to write down all of the bits of knowledge they throw at me.

A good example of this was this past Friday. It was a half-day and most of everyone was gone from the office leaving me without many tasks on my plate to be completed. Having some free time, I decided to poke my head into Jon Haarlow’s office; he is the Assistant AD for Internal Operations here at ACU. During our chat, we talked about a lot of things from general career advice, why we work in college athletics, to why there aren’t any schools from Ohio in the Ohio Valley Conference. I also found out that Jon is a cyclist like myself! It was an awesome opportunity to take some of the down time I had in the office and use that to pick the brain and learn from someone who had been in my shoes before and could give me solid advice to help me throughout my career.

While reflecting back on the past week here at ACU and some of the conversations I had with Jon, it has become clear that my internship here at ACU, while a lot of it has to do directly with the experience I get, it also has to do with the opportunity that I get to build relationships with all of the members of the athletic department. I get the chance to grow relationships with members of a DI athletic department every day! While internships and work experience are vitally important to anyone’s career, so is a strong network of people who can vouch for your knowledge and work ethic. To all of those young professionals out there in internships now, make that extra effort to get to know the people you work with, as they can become valuable assets down the road. Even for someone not currently in an internship, there are always opportunities to reach out and learn from professionals and begin to build the ground floor of a strong network.