Men's Volleyball Q&A: Weston Barnes

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Redshirt senior Weston Barnes recently took a trip to the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, to take part in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum, a leadership development conference for student-athletes looking to continue a career in sports. Weston is a returning member of the Waves Leadership Council:


Weston  Barnes

Q: What was the primary focus of the NCAA Career in Sports Forum?


A: The forum was designed to allow student-athletes to explore career paths within intercollegiate athletics and connect with a variety of different leaders in the industry of college sports. Another purpose of the forum was to develop leadership traits and build connections with peers and mentors.


Q: Who all was selected to go?


A: There were 240 student-athletes from all over the country, covering all three NCAA divisions. It was a great mix of student-athletes from every sport. Being the only Pepperdine representative, people would identify me by my school and say something like, "Yo Pepperdine, what up?!"


Q: Did you meet a lot of people from different schools in similar stages of life?


A: I found it very easy to connect with people because we all held the same mindset. It seemed like 90 percent of the student-athletes at the forum had either just graduated or were within a year of graduating. Most of us will be facing some big career decisions soon, and I think all of us are striving to establish a career in athletics. A common theme amongst us is that we share a passion for improving the life of student-athletes, and that really brought us together. I connected with some really cool people who were driven in the same direction as me, and getting to bond with these people made the trip extremely fulfilling.


Q: What was your biggest take-away from the forum?


A: I took in more from the leadership development seminars and activities than anything. I learned what it means to have a purpose and how to identify that purpose. Furthermore, I learned to use my purpose to build a personal brand and convey my brand in a proper manner. Ultimately my favorite learning experience was a personality assessment that I engaged in with the other student-athletes. I discovered my personality type to be Conscientious, which tends to be analytical and systematic. Then they put us in groups typed by personality. It was mind blowing to see the similarities among us. We discussed ways to understand and improve interaction among the different personalities in a group setting. Having the assessment at our fingertips improved communication among student-athletes for the rest of the weekend. I gained a lot from the personality assessment.


Q: Do you have any fun memories of outside activities?


A:  Picture this, 100-plus student athletes all in the same restaurant to watch game one of the NBA Finals. The place was on fire because of a heated rivalry of Warriors and Cavs fans that continued throughout the whole weekend. You could literally eavesdrop on conversations of people arguing about whether LeBron is the greatest player of all time ... I mean, come on, I thought we were all college educated here.


Q: How did it feel to be nominated to attend the conference by Senior Associate Director of Athletics Karina Herold?


A: I was thrilled when Karina said she would nominate me. I had only been a WLC member for one year so I thought my chances of being selected were slim, but, I asked James Gehrels to review my application. He and I made sure my application was on point, and I think that really helped my chances. Once I received word that I was accepted, I was so fired up for the trip and I don't think that excitement died until I left Indy. With 240 student-athletes around, the energy was high at all times.

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