My journey through university took a turn when I realized my true passion lies in the world of sports. Transitioning to the Sports Management program at the University of Illinois opened a realm of possibilities that aligned perfectly with my lifelong love for athletics. Coupled with a minor in Business, this decision broadened my horizons and set me on a path towards a career where I could merge my passion for sports with business acumen. 

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, my university experience was fulfilling and enriching. Supported by dedicated advisors like Tonya Pulley  and Jason Schroeder, I found guidance and mentorship that played a crucial role in shaping my academic and professional journey. Immersive courses like Business Strategies for Professional Sports Organizations, led by Dr Michael Raycraft, provided invaluable insights into the workings of the sports management field. Similarly, Coaching Strategies with Mrs. Kaitlyn Streitmatter deepened my interest in coaching, presenting it as a potential career path for the future. 

My senior year was marked by hands-on experiences, including my involvement with the Illinois Street Team, where I contributed to marketing University of Illinois events. This role allowed me to experience the electrifying atmosphere of basketball games firsthand, fueling my passion for sports marketing. Additionally, my internship at the Health Performance Institute at Illinois Bone and Joint Institute provided practical experience in client services and marketing, further solidifying my interest in this domain. 

Looking ahead, my goal is to carve a niche for myself in sports marketing, ideally within prominent organizations like the NBA, NFL, or major college basketball and football teams. As a devoted Chicago Bears and Oklahoma City Thunder fan, the prospect of working for either of these teams fills me with excitement and anticipation. 

Reflecting on my university experience, I urge current students to actively engage in campus life and foster meaningful connections with professors. While I initially hesitated to interact beyond what was necessary, I now recognize the value of building relationships and seeking mentorship. Embracing opportunities for involvement and networking can open doors to new possibilities and shape the trajectory of one's career. 

In essence, my journey from courtside spectator to aspiring sports marketer underscores the transformative power of pursuing one's passion and embracing the opportunities that come with it. With determination and a proactive approach, I am poised to turn my dreams into reality in the dynamic world of sports management.