Full name: Carson Fields
Graduation year: 2021
Employer name and title: Graduate student at Minnesota State University in the master’s in Sport and Exercise Psychology program
What interested you in your declared major/minor?
I’ve always been very passionate about mental health and helping people. I wanted to counsel others or become a therapist one day. I have always sought opportunities to work with people and help them through hard times. I made the switch to sport psychology once I realized that I—as a D1 student athlete—was struggling a lot in regards to my mental health and that my teammates were as well. It became clear that there was a huge need for support within the sport population and I became eager to help college athletes like myself.
What experiential-focused opportunities did you have with your declared major/minor?
As a student-athlete at Butler, I was exposed to real-life issues within the field and was able to connect with and learn from teammates/coaches. I was living out what I would one day help others with. That was without a doubt the most influential experience I had at Butler University. Being a student-athlete shaped me in many ways and it solidified my interest in sport and exercise psychology.
Additionally, as a student-athlete, I was connected to many different professionals in the sport and exercise sphere. Senior Associate Athletic Director, Ralph Reiff, was extremely helpful in connecting me with others in my field. I had many Zoom calls with sport psychologists and consultants, learning more about what I wanted to do, what graduate school might be like, how to apply and do well, etc. This was very helpful for me and I can’t thank Ralph enough for connecting me to experts within the field.
As a Psychology student, I was able to get involved in a research lab with Dr. Brian Day. In addition to learning about research design, statistics, presentations, and conferences, Dr. Day helped me learn about myself, what I wanted, and how I could reach my goals. My time in the research lab, and with Dr. Day, was very meaningful.
Lastly, I learned about Englishton Park Summer Camp through my major. This internship was life changing. I spent the summer after my sophomore year working as a camp counselor with children who had behavioral problems and often, troubled home lives. This experience taught me so much about applied psychology, what my strengths and weaknesses were, and how I could use what I was learning in the classroom to help people out in the real world. Though I ultimately decided to pursue sport psychology and not childhood trauma, I’m forever grateful that Butler led me to Englishton Park and that I was able to experience all that I did there.
What do you do in your current position and how did Butler prepare you for it?
Currently, I’m working as a Mental Skills Consultant helping athletes with their performance and the mental aspect of their sport experience. I work one-on-one with clients as well as conduct team sessions on topics such as confidence, focus, goal setting, and motivation. Butler prepared me in many ways. Being a student-athlete at Butler has helped me better understand and empathize with my clients. It taught me how to be a leader and a mentor. It also helped me gain excellent time management skills. Additionally, Butler taught me how to be an effective communicator. Being at a smaller university, I learned to discuss and converse with others regularly. I learned how to be a good, active listener. I had many opportunities through sport and academics to connect with others and improve my interpersonal skills. These skills I have gained from Butler are now incredibly important for the work I do now.
Butler also prepared me immensely as a professional. I met regularly with Career and Professional Success Advisor Sierra Matthews. Sierra taught me how to create a CV, what it takes to write an impactful purpose statement, how to prepare for interviews and applications, and more. Best of all, Sierra helped me reflect on what I truly wanted and what was important to me for my future. I’m very grateful for the professors, coaches, and advisors that helped me learn how to be the best student, future professional, athlete, and person possible. I felt very prepared coming into graduate school.
What are your long-term career goals?
As I look to graduate in May 2023, I hope to earn my certification for mental performance consulting and continue to help athletes. I plan to start out working with teams and athletes, on the high school and college level, as a mental skills consultant. Eventually, I hope to earn a mental health degree in addition to my sport and exercise master’s degree. This way, I can continue to support athletes on a greater range of topics. I would love to become part of the sports medicine staff at a university and see a variety of athletes from different sports. Maybe one day I will even get my doctorate.
What advice would you give a first-year student as you reflect back on your experience at Butler?
Get involved and connected. Butler University is the perfect size and has ample opportunities. I had such a well-rounded experience at Butler and I believe it’s because I applied myself and took advantage of what the Unviersity has to offer. Additionally, I encourage first-year students to introduce themselves to their professors. Get to know your professors and lean on them for insight and support. The amount of professors that were willing to sit down and speak with me, support and encourage me, answer questions, etc., was incredible. It was amazing to know I had a network of adults in my corner. It was also incredible to see how those professors and staff members could connect you to others, who then could connect you to others, and so on. You never know who might know somebody and who can get you connected. Ask questions, be curious, work hard, and dream big!