CYDNEY COFFEY: Not the Cards You’re Dealt, But How You Play The Hand That Counts

Cydney Coffey is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Sports and Exercise. She is also the graduate assistance with the Centennial Student Union Communications Office. Along with the BEST Board, Cydney was also selected 2019 Graduate Student of the Year for Region V of the Association of College Unions International. The region represents college and university student unions from seven states and Manitoba, Canada.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Boasting Exceptional Student Talent, the BEST Board in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge is a 55-foot-long display sponsored by the CSU to recognize eight students each semester for campus student leadership and CSU student staff excellence. This is the fourth in a series of profiles of the Spring 2020 student leaders.

Using your own experience, what advice for personal fulfillment and college enrichment would you offer to fellow students?

CYDNEY: “Make the best of whatever situation you are in. We all have our ups and downs throughout our lifetime, but what really matters is how you go about dealing with those situations while overcoming adversity. In the sport and exercise psychology graduate program, we preach that individuals should focus on what they can control. Attitude is one of those things. As I said in my BEST Board quote, I strive to make each and every day as amazing as it can be and I would encourage others to do the same!”

We often get asked, “How do I get on the BEST Board?” What do you think helped earn you your BEST Board distinction?

CYDNEY: “I would say getting involved helped me to earn my BEST Board distinction. I am heavily involved in the campus community in these ways: my graduate assistantship position in CSU Communications and all that it entails (actively reaching out and engaging with the campus community, getting information out with the two newsletters we put out, etc.), my involvement in Black Motivated Women (an RSO), my involvement in Sport and Exercise Psychology (an RSO), my involvement in the events my office puts out (Hound Hugs & Kanine Kisses, CSU Serendipity Music Series, CSU Open Mic Night, Tunesday- just to name a few), and my involvement with my graduate program in which our applied work requires us to engage with the campus community.

Being as involved as I am has required me to step out of my comfort zone in the best ways possible. I am gaining endless experience outside of my studies that I couldn’t have wished for. Overall, Minnesota State University, Mankato has set me up for success. I will be able to take all of the experiences that Minnesota State University, Mankato has given me and apply them to my life after graduation, and for that, I am grateful beyond words.”

Why did you pick the quote used on the BEST Board? Please provide some background.

CYDNEY: “The quote that I used on the BEST Board was: “I love to spread my energy and positivity amongst others. I strive to think and be positive, making each and every day as amazing as it can be.” I picked this quote because I am notorious for being a positive individual. The desire to support and comfort others has been a part of me as far back as I can remember.

When I see someone around me upset, my immediate thought is to work to turn their day around. To this day, I still have the mentality where I strive to help those who are going through a crisis no matter the degree. Like any individual, I have my own experiences of going through the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. It’s not about the cards that you’re dealt, but how you play the hand. That is why I personally strive to make each and every day as amazing as it can be.”

What involvement or leadership experience at Minnesota State Mankato best defines you, your interests, or your proudest moment? 

CYDNEY: “I would say that my greatest leadership accomplishments would be leading my student team in my position as a graduate assistant. When I first started in this position in Fall 2018, I was able to come in and restructure how my student team operated. In this position, I needed to demonstrate leadership in many ways. My student team looked to me for a wide variety of responsibilities in and out of the office, and I’m happy to say that I was and am able to meet the expectations that not only my supervisor expects me to meet, but that my student team expects me to meet as well.

I take pride and joy in being the best leader that I can be for my student team, peers, and campus community by communicating and displaying integrity, positivity, resilience, confidence, empathy, humility, and by keeping myself and those around me accountable. I am able to take all of these qualities and skills and translate them into the campus community. My leadership doesn’t stop in my office, instead, I strive to expand my leadership qualities in everything that I do in any setting. Whether that is in a school, work, or social setting, I aim to flourish my leadership qualities and lead by example.”

Where do you hope to take your college education earned at Minnesota State Mankato (what are your career aspirations)?

CYDNEY: “Upon completion of my doctoral studies and becoming a licensed counselor, I intend to open a private practice where I am able to implement both sport psychology and mental health counseling. I will finish up my Sport and Exercise Psychology Master’s program this spring and enter the Mental Health Counseling Master’s program this fall.

“Ultimately, I would like to pair sport and exercise psychology with counseling, not only because they complement each other strongly, but because I am aiming to be an advocate for athletes or performers in sport dealing with mental health issues or illnesses. My ultimate career goal is to not only support positive mental health throughout individuals, but to continue to become a successful counselor, and work with individuals in and out of sport, from diverse backgrounds. It is one capability to be an advocate for others, but a whole other triumph to guide an individual to be able to advocate for themselves.”

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