UCF Alumnus Lives the Optimal Life


“I love what I do.”

That is what UCF Psychology alumnus, Maximilian Pollack, ’11, states to be his greatest achievement post-graduate life. Currently serving as a Mental Resilience Trainer and Performance Expert for soldiers in the U.S. Army and as a Mental Conditioning Consultant for his own practice, Max Pollack didn’t always know his ultimate end goal.

“An incredible conversation that changed my life was one that I had with my fraternity brother, Trevor Shipley, from Beta,” said Pollack. “After talking for hours, he recommended I take a couple of psychology classes since I lacked a passion for my classes in micro and molecular biology. That conversation made such an impact on my life to this day. I went full gear ahead and took four psychology classes. [I] absolutely loved them. I couldn’t get enough.”

Pollack graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2011 with a B.S. in Psychology. He then went on to earn his M.S. in Movement Sciences with specialization in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology at Barry University in 2014. Shortly after, he established his own private practice, Optimal Mindset Consulting: Mental Conditioning for Peak Performance, where he works as a Mental Conditioning Consultant out of Colorado Springs, CO.

“I built my own private practice, Optimal Mindset Consulting: Mental Conditioning for Peak Performance, LLC,” said Pollack. “[I] get to work with athletes and performers all across the world to help them perform at their peak potential on a consistent basis.”

On top of managing his own practice, Pollack serves as a Mental Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert (MRT-PE) in the U.S. Army, teaching soldiers and their families how to maximize resilience and performance.

During his time at UCF when he wasn’t studying all day and night at the library, Pollack played rugby for the UCF Men’s Rugby Club and took part in internship opportunities with the Center for Drug-Free Living and the UCF Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office as a Peer Advisor.

“The experiences and people that I met while at UCF are everlasting for me and I always represent my alma mater to the highest degree,” said Pollack. “My UCF experience was tough, intense, fun, scary (at times), but most of all, filled with opportunity to grow with each new opportunity and encounter.”

Pollack shared more on his experience at UCF, thriving career and advice to current students and alumni.

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

UCF was a school that was really up and coming and had so much to offer. I’m a ‘go big’ kind of guy and UCF was exactly that. BIG! I was excited because of all of the events that took place there as well as the fact that they had a football team and other sports that were growing. I had a plan to be a Micro and Molecular Biology major and UCF offers a great program. 

How has your UCF degree helped you in your career?

My bachelor’s degree in psychology has been a wonderful help for me in life after college. I began working with a youth mental hospital in the Bradenton, FL area and then after a little under a year, I went on to pursue my master’s degree. My experience at UCF opened so many doors for me. They weren’t always wide open waiting for me to walk through, but after a lot of prying and useful creativity, I stepped through those doors and my world opened up to incredible opportunities.

What is your best UCF memory?

My time with Beta Theta Pi was incredible as well as all of the people that I met along the way. The football games were so much fun and the classes were truly awesome. I remember Dr. Alisha Janowsky’s classes: Personality Theory, Statistical Methods in Psychology, James Rini’s class: Interviewing and Counseling, as well as Dr. Mustapha Mouloua’s Advances Research methods class. They were truly great. The growth that I received throughout the process was the greatest reward.

What is your most memorable experience on the job?

I began working with a Division 1 NCAA volleyball team. Within the first few sessions with the team, a light seemed to turn on for them. We incorporated different techniques and strategies after I educated them on certain topics, and their performances not only on the court changed, but in their personal lives as well. When I have an athlete that I work with who comes in and feels overwhelmed and not ready for their performances, but then walks out with an entirely different mentality that will help them deliver the results they desire and a level of readiness that they may have not thought possible— not only are they ready, but I am always as excited when this transformation occurs.

What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?

Whatever it is that you want to do, you will find a way to make it happen as long as you keep taking a step towards it every day. Don’t just do what is easy or what will make you the salary you want. If you don’t follow something that you are passionate about, then your job will become tedious work instead of enjoyable work. Go for what makes you happy.

Comments are closed.