Whether on the gridiron or in the classroom, Maryland Smith’s football players have the playbook for success.
Speaking to an audience of high school students with Victor Mullins, Maryland Smith associate dean for undergraduate studies, and Terp football alumnus Mike Echols, BCJ ’88, members of the University of Maryland’s football team shared their tips on making the most of the college experience and positioning themselves for a fulfilling future.
Along with Echols, Terp football players and Maryland Smith students Nicolas Cross, Eric Najarian, Anthony Pecorella, David Foust and Alex Simet offered the following advice:
Call an audible. College is a moment where students have the opportunity to figure out what interests them most, said Najarian, junior quarterback and marketing major. You might have an idea of what you want to do, he said, but that shouldn’t prevent you from pivoting after discovering a new passion.
“Keeping an open mind is really important,” he said. “If you think you know exactly what you want to do, you might tunnel vision on something that isn’t the best fit for you. Take this time to explore other opportunities.”
Don’t drop the ball. Sophomore quarterback David Foust, a marketing and supply chain major, said he keeps a schedule and plans out his days before going to bed so that he never misses a beat. There are moments where there’s a lot happening all at once, and doing this helps keep everything in perspective, he said.
“Whether you’re a student-athlete or someone with time-consuming extracurricular activities, it’s up to you to know how to allocate your time efficiently,” he said. “Use the resources that are given to you, know what you can handle and never put too much time into too many things.”
Go up and get after it. Everyone’s definition of success is unique, but the foundational components to it are almost always the same, said Echols, founder and CEO of MAX Cybersecurity. Success, he said, is about taking advantage of opportunities or creating them yourself.
“With social media, you can come up with something you want to do for the rest of your life and connect with others who do it,” Echols said. “People who can get past the shyness of reaching out will be able to take that leap and make important connections. That’s how you get up the ladder.”
Keep track of the play clock. Junior Nicolas Cross, who left UMD this semester after declaring for the NFL Draft, highlighted the importance of recognizing the moment to transition to new opportunities. Forgoing his senior year to pursue a lifelong dream is a decision that was met with outside pressures, Cross said, but all that’s necessary is the confidence to take that next step.
“Some people are excited and believe I’ve made the right decision, others have disagreed and said another year in college is what’s best for me,” said Cross. “Everyone has to transition at the time they feel is right for them. You decide, at the end of the day, so be ready for the challenges ahead.”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.