By Mary Patalita
Special to GoHolyCross.com
On Monday, October 26, the Center for Career Development and the Department of Athletics co-hosted an Athlete Alumni Networking Night in an effort to help current student-athletes realize the value of their athletic experience and learn how to apply it to the professional world. The night started out with a panel consisting of Alison Finn ’14 (rowing), Christopher Kenney ’87 (football), Alexa McKeever ’07 (golf) and Thomas Arrigg ’10 (baseball). After the panel, there was a reception, which gave student-athletes the opportunity to network with over 40 student-athlete alumni in attendance. The alumni represented a wide range of class years, sports and career fields that allowed students a chance to speak to alumni in industries specific to their career interests.
The messages that the alumni shared were applicable to the lives of student-athletes and tailored specifically to life on the hill. Finn, who now works with Boston Scientific, told the student-athletes about skills that transfer from the athletic field to the workplace. “The thing about being in a boat with eight other people is that you really have to trust each other,” said Finn. “You have to anticipate each others’ movements, and you have to understand that what they are doing is going to be in the exact same time as what you’re doing as well. I learned how to trust my teammates as we were moving together towards a similar goal.” She has found the same in her work experience. “Learning about my teammates at Holy Cross translated to working with teammates at work,” stated Finn.
Arrigg spoke of how his experience with the Crusaders helped him in his work life with Huxley Banking & Financial Services. “Baseball at Holy Cross gave me time management skills through experiencing tough academic and athletic schedules as well as everything else that goes into being on a team,” said Arrigg. “Then when you have a job you have a million things coming at you, it really gives you the discipline to transform your athletic life into your professional life. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. You’ve done it athletically, now you can do it professionally. It gives you guidance – that’s how it has helped me the most.”
McKeever, who works for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, added the importance of independence that she learned playing golf at Holy Cross. “I was responsible for driving myself to the range and improving personally,” said McKeever. “I had to direct my own progress and practice routine which helped me grow independently.”
Kenney, a lawyer with Kenney & Sams, P.C., went on to share how the competitive nature of sports can help in the workforce. “Competition is not a bad thing,” said Kenney. “Everyone thinks it is bad these days. You have to play to win and play by the rules. Being a lawyer this translates to the office. There is a winner and loser in everything. Trying to win the case is the closest thing to continuing athletics after college.”
Student-athletes of all years came to the event, each taking away a different message. “I found it to be extremely relevant to my own situation at Holy Cross as well as informative on how to apply athletic experiences to the interviewing process,” said junior lacrosse player Jon Vogel (Chesterfield, Mo.). Junior baseball player Brendan King (Brookline, Mass.) agreed. “It was great to talk to professionals who had similar experiences to me at Holy Cross,” said King. “Overall it was very informative and a valuable event to attend.”
Even the underclassmen, who are further removed from the job search in comparison to the seniors, took away bits of advice from the alumni. “The alumni networking panel was a very beneficial event, because the speakers were varied in age and experience, yet all understood how to incorporate an athletic background into entering a career,” said freshman lacrosse player Jessi Button (Moorestown, N.J.). “As a freshman, it was helpful to learn about what to do and not to do in an interview so that in the future I can make a great first impression. Overall, it's really awesome to have a great network of alumni like we have here at Holy Cross.”
Later in the night, Kenney shared the value of being a Holy Cross student-athlete. “Holy Cross is really a special place,” said Kenney. “The best thing I learned about being a student-athlete here was that for me to succeed academically and athletically I really had to pay the price. I had to work harder, I had to set goals, I had to monitor my progress towards achieving them because effort matters, but results matter more. And for me to get the results I wanted I really had to stretch. It was a pretty humbling but valuable experience because you can apply it to the rest of your life. ”
The panelists left the student-athletes with one message: enjoy your experience as an athlete and a scholar here. They all agreed that they would take 6:00 a.m. workouts with their friends followed by going to class to learn something you enjoy any day over work. The panelists said every day in the workforce is like the day before finals. While in college it is hard not to get wrapped up and stressed with balancing academics and athletics but the alumni advised the student-athletes to enjoy the valuable spot they are in currently.