Reflections from AASP

Ashley Raulli shares her experiences at the 2017 and 2018 AASP national conferences, held in Orlando and Toronto, respectively.  

This was my second year attending the Association for Applied Sport Psychology’s (AASP) national conference. It seems like a no brainer that my two experiences were different, but it wasn’t because the content was different. It is because my mindset was different. Last year, I went into the conference wanting to absorb all the information like a sponge. I wasn’t really interested in learning more about future careers or schooling because I had no idea which direction I was going post-graduation. This year, I had a better idea of my purpose in this field, and the AASP conference answered a lot of big questions I had in regards to post-master’s degree life.

When I started my master’s degree at this program, I thought I was for sure going on to get my doctoral degree. I aspired to work with elite athletes varying from collegiate, professional, and Olympic. This probably isn’t surprising since most graduate students in this field start off wanting that career path. However, as the school year went on I realized two things: (1) I loved working with high school teams and individual athletes and (2) I was beginning to be burnt out with school. I went into this program so excited and eager to learn, and that is still true to this day. However, I find myself only loving two out of the three jobs I have right now. I am currently the graduate assistant for our Center for Sport and Performance Psychology, a consultant for various teams and individuals, and a student. The student part is not as enjoyable for me compared to my other two jobs because of homework. Don’t get me wrong, our program and our classes are absolutely amazing and interesting, but I would rather have a classroom discussion then write a 3-page reflection. I love discussing and collaborating, and that is when I realized consulting was my next step after my master’s instead of pursuing a PhD. right away. I want to collaborate with my peers to create fun and research-based sessions that get athletes fired up about learning this material. I get excited going to team and individual sessions, and I get excited going in to the center because I have the chance to help my peers in any way I can. Now that you have my entire master’s life story, let’s get back to the main topic of this blog… the AASP conference.

I spent the majority of my time at AASP attending sessions that would help me start out my post-master’s degree life with consulting. I thought about owning my own business so I went to sessions that discussed how to do that. I also went to see speakers who already own a consulting business to see if they could provide any insight into the many questions I had about that. I learned a lot about the business logistics, as well as the importance of establishing a brand. I learned that it was important to build a logo and brand that show your authentic self and your passions. The more personal and authentic, the more people will gravitate towards your business. That is one thing I love about the field of sport psychology, it values uniqueness as well as research and standards of practice.

Another aspect of the AASP conference that is unique is the level of support and collaboration that occurs among different professionals with different levels of experience. Sport psychology is still a growing field, and the people who are the pioneers in this field are at this conference eager to spread their knowledge to young professionals. It is awesome and comforting to feel support in this environment. It makes a master’s student like me feel less stressed about the future. In fact, I am eager and excited! For those of you who are curious about this field, know that is it one that welcomes you in with open arms. It is a field that challenges you to discover who you are, but also helps you along the way.