By: Tina Schirmeister, Living Sport London 2018 Participant & student at California State University Fresno
What do you want to do for the rest of your life? That is the million-dollar question many search daily to answer. All I knew about my answer was something involving sports. Over time I have been given the same pieces of advice to help me succeed in this competitive environment: gain experience in your field, network with current professionals, and find multiple opportunities that will set yourself apart from everyone else. I along with 25 other undergraduates or recent graduates from around the country found our opportunity through Living Sport.
When I first discovered this opportunity, I thought I had a very small chance of actually being accepted into the program. I applied through Sports Business Solutions thinking I was a long shot, however; within two weeks I had completed an interview and was accepted into the London 2018 program. At the time, I was unaware of how much this trip was going to reshape my life individually and professionally.
Before starting my adventure in London, I made the goal to make some sort of impact on the lives of the strangers I would be traveling with, whether it be professionally or just for a laugh. With less than 10 days to accomplish this, I would need to let go of my tendency to slightly shy away and fully express myself wholeheartedly immediately. I wanted to use this opportunity to improve my interpersonal skills and networking abilities in a low-pressure setting.
My mentor for the trip, Shane Baglini, the Chair of the Living Sport Advisory Board, presented me the opportunity to shoot footage from the GoPro for our trip video montage during our first full day touring London. Initially, I was extremely nervous with zero GoPro experience and very little recording experience. I started by recording everyone in their natural habitat observing and walking around the city. However, I soon realized I wanted to see everyone's personalities interact with the GoPro. Someone had to start, so with the GoPro in hand, I allowed my personality to shine through, hoping to lead others to do the same. The GoPro also gave me a reason to approach everyone and ask questions, no matter how basic or random. With the GoPro, I felt more comfortable interacting with everyone, creating impromptu interviews to describe our adventure. I felt like I could be my crazy, fun-loving, dancing self and I wanted to keep that going through the rest of the trip. On the first day, my fellow travelers helped me shed a layer of self-consciousness I did not know I was holding onto, and I do not ever want that layer back.
While recording broke through a personal barrier, our work experience at the Triathlon brought growth to my career. When meeting new people at the event and telling them how I traveled to London for this incredible experience I felt so much joy and pride for myself and my fellow participants. It felt surreal that I was not only visiting a new country and getting to know the locals but also getting international work experience!
The final day of our trip consisted of workshops led by our mentors (industry professionals). These workshops helped us explore our career options in sports, but most importantly helped evolve our passions and personalities. Living Sport did not put anyone in a bubble, and if you had a unique strength or talent - it was used to our advantage. Alicia Marinelli and her team of mentors provided so much information and expertise to everyone specifically for their career goals. It was an honor to not only meet everyone, but learn from them throughout the trip.
Upon returning home from our trip to London, I am no longer afraid to start conversations because Living Sport helped me evolve into a stronger, more confident young professional with great tools to achieve my goals. With a deeper love and understanding for the sports industry, I can clearly describe my current career goal of sport operations with others. While I am still searching for my precise answer to that million-dollar question during my final semesters of college, thanks to Living Sport and my international experience in London, I am so much closer.