Our life as Davidson student-athletes revolves around our sport and academics. Our education is never compromised, even when we travel. This season, Davidson women’s soccer has endured a strenuous travel schedule in the A10. Although missing classes is not ideal, the time we have towards our academics is very valuable. The Philadelphia career event, sponsored by the career center, was an impactful experience understanding the importance of navigating the Davidson alumni network and focusing on our future after Davidson.
An aspect about Davidson that was not stressed enough during my first three years was the strong alumni network the institution has. Our trip to Philadelphia was a great example of it. Initially, the networking event was a bit nerve racking because I thought it was difficult to relate to Davidson alum who were at different points in their lives compared to me. Once I had my first conversation with an alumni, we ended up having more in common than I thought! My teammates and I enjoyed talking about the changing social scene at Davidson, our majors, our future career paths, and our love for the college.
As the evening went on, the team got to hear from a handful of alumni on a networking panel. Ryan Northington (‘96), former Davidson men’s soccer player, emphasized the impact our position as student-athletes has on our resumes. He mentioned that when he reviews two applicants with similar credentials but one is a student-athlete, he chooses the student-athlete every time. Hearing this made me feel much better about entering the workforce, knowing the advantage I have over other applicants. Being a student-athlete brings important skills that can be applied when looking for employment. Team player, time management, communication skills are just a few examples that the panel listed that were key skills to emphasize. I learned so much from these Davidson grads, especially being persistent in making Davidson connections.
The Philadelphia career event also included professional school panels for medical, law, and business school. I attended the Villanova law school panel which featured Villanova law students who were former student-athletes in undergrad. The admissions director went through the process for applying to Villanova’s law program, then afterwards we heard from the students about their experience when they applied to law school. Listening to their unique stories, I found a common theme about transitioning from being a student-athlete to a regular student. My undergrad application process revolved around soccer and where I wanted to play. Now, soccer will not be an important factor when picking which law schools I apply to. The law students advised me and other players to figure out what are the main things we are looking for in a law school. Maybe it’s financial aid, location, being close to family, or prestige. In reality, soccer won’t be one of them, but soccer can help us when we apply. Similar to Northington’s point, the Villanova law students encouraged us to emphasize the skills we developed while being student-athletes.
Overall, I believe this career event was helpful for every player to reflect on what directions to take during their Davidson career. Of course, my path looks starkly different from my freshmen counterparts, but we all learned that student-athletes are hireable! To achieve our desired career goals, we must be proactive in utilizing our alumni network, and ultimately being our own advocates when competing for internships or full-time jobs.
Michele Manceaux ’20, Psychology & Political Science Double Major (Pictured Right)