Come to Lehigh, spend four years as a student athlete and then graduate.
What comes next?
For graduate students Devon Carter and Cody Triolo, the lessons learned at Lehigh have prepared them for life after sports in ways they couldn’t have imagined.
Carter was a member of the Lehigh men’s basketball team from 2012-16, and he said he remembers his time as a freshman vividly.
He was a marketing major before switching to psychology and a guard for the basketball team but didn’t play his first year because of a torn ACL.
Now a second-year graduate student pursuing social psychology and special education, Carter said he is thankful for the time-management abilities he gained as an undergraduate student.
“Time management has really helped me,” he said. “I used to try to get my work done before practice because I would normally be so tired after practice. Now I usually get work done with that same mentality. It really taught me work ethic and to get work done in a timely manner.”
Triolo, a former captain on the Lehigh men’s lacrosse team, is enrolled in the five-year IBE honors program to receive degrees in civil engineering and finance. He shares Carter’s view about balancing time.
“Back when I was playing lacrosse, we had to go on the mountain on the other side of campus every day, and now I have four extra hours in the day — I have so much time,” Triolo said. “I devote it to job searching and other things, since I’m not always in a time crunch anymore.”
Triolo said he hopes to either enter the workforce after his program ends or enroll in graduate school.
While still on campus, Carter and Triolo have found different activities to occupy their time.
Carter is focused on conducting research and helping mentor younger basketball players on the team.
“I see myself as a big brother for the team, I try to help them out as much as I can,” he said. “I consider myself a bridge between the coach and the players because they know they can talk to me about anything.”
The former guard knows the value of having a mentor to look up to, as Mountain Hawk legend and current Portland Trailblazer C.J. McCollum was a big part of the reason why Carter chose to play basketball at Lehigh.
“(McCollum) helped me realize that I needed to be a professional and get my degree,” Carter said. “I still talk to him to this day whenever I can. He’s a good friend.”
Triolo is now using the time he used to spend playing lacrosse to try something he’s always wanted to get involved in at Lehigh: club ice hockey.
“It was something I really wanted to do because I love that sport so much,” he said. “I played it all growing up because my high school had its own rink. It was a pretty big hockey school.”
Although Carter and Triolo may not have had the opportunity to try certain things while they were undergraduate student athletes, the value of balancing athletics and work was noted by others as well.
Lehigh director of athletics Joe Sterrett commented on the importance and relevance of being a student athlete.
“Employers have told me that there is agreement that the ability to manage time and devote purposeful time into things are very important overall,” Sterrett said. “They have learned how to persist when things aren’t going as well as they could be. They have experience with defeat and are always trying to get better.”
Triolo reminisced about his time as a student athlete and gave some advice to a freshman version of himself.
“I would tell myself to try and enjoy every moment,” he said. “It moves so fast.”