A MAJOR decision: living my dream at ESPN

A MAJOR decision: living my dream at ESPN

By Rachel Eldridge, SU ’10

I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. I have a strong stomach and never panic, both things I was sure were required to get your M.D.

Little did I know that I would end up far from where I started out as a biology major at Syracuse University.

Rachel Eldridge graduated from SU with a dual degree in English and Political Science. She followed her passion for sports and now works for ESPN.

Rewind to 2007. I was sitting in chemistry class; not only was I bored, I had lost the passion I thought I had. I was good at science, which forced me to feel like it was the career path I was supposed to pursue. My mom always asked me, “If you had one day to yourself, what would you do? However you answer that question, that is what you should spend your professional career doing.” My answer for as long as I could remember was “I’d watch sports.”

So there I was, a year and a half out of college, working at an intellectual property law firm in Washington D.C., with degrees in Political Science and English.

I was starting to get antsy. I knew that eventually I was going to have to decide if I wanted to go to law school, and if I didn’t, I needed to make a change and I needed to make one that was calculated. With my two degrees, I knew that I didn’t have the clear and overt qualifications for a position in sports, but I figured it was worth a shot. I was pressured into applying, but luckily I didn’t have to cast a net of applications in desperation. I had a job, which gave me time to be honest with myself about what I wanted.

I finally had the guts to do it. On a late Saturday night, I did a quick search regarding employment at ESPN, pretty convinced I had a zero percent chance of getting hired.

In the end, I refused to put restrictions on myself. I took a risk and it worked out, even if I did have to wait an agonizing four months to work through the process at ESPN. I know that it won’t always work out as it did for me, but you can’t convince yourself not to do something because you “aren’t qualified” or because “it’s way out of your league” or because you didn’t major in a specific subject or industry area.

I didn’t have much experience working in sports, but transferable skills and a passion for sports were enough to not only get me through the door, but hired by the World Wide Leader in Sports in the research department as part of the Stats & Information Group. Looking back at my path: from biology to political science and English to sports, I took many turns but am happy with the result. I am not sure how much my specific majors actually mattered, but I do know that I needed a degree to achieve these goals!

If you’re looking for help deciding a major, check out Career Services’ Major Dilemma Drop-Ins, March 25th – 28th.  First-year and sophomore students who wish to discuss their majors can stop by during the below times:
Monday, March 25 – 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 – 3:00- 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27 – 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 28 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.