SAALOG Stories - University Recreation & Wellness

Sarah Grace 

Student employee

Learning Domain: Personal and Interpersonal Skills

RecWell has given me everything I need to succeed in life. RecWell stood by me through my darkest days in life, and all of the departments I worked for have helped shape who I am and the future path I want to take. I have learned happiness, independence, self-care, leadership, integrity, and self-empowerment through RecWell. The values that RecWell instills in all departments also become instilled in its student employees. I have learned how to be more inclusive and how to solve real world problems through customer service and learning when to step in to a potentially awkward or even dangerous situation. All of these skills are applicable to my life moving forward. Even though I want to pursue a career in collegiate recreation, I have the knowledge going forward on how to apply myself not only in the industry of my choice, but also in the real world as a functioning human adult. I have just graduated college, so I am learning how to adjust to bills, work scheduling, maintaining social relationships, and applying for graduate school. Without RecWell as a guiding path for me in my life, I would not have the motivation to apply myself or the drive to move forward with my life plans. What makes RecWell a special place in my eyes is the fact that every professional supervisor who works there, and that I have worked under, sees something unique in each student employee - which is impressive considering we are the largest student employer on campus. Not only do they recognize great potential, but they do everything in their power to make sure a student's potential is developed and utilized to its fullest. RecWell takes the time to care, and that is reflected in each of us as student employees.

Sydney Sotelo 

Student Employee

Learning Domain: Personal & Interpersonal Skills

I joined the Adventure Program in RecWell as a Trip Leader in Training in January 2013. What I didn't realize back then was that this program and the people in it would change the trajectory of my personal and professional life completely. I learned what it meant to be a strong, confident and decisive leader. I learned the technical skills necessary to lead rock climbing, backpacking and caving trips. I developed strong interpersonal skills that allowed me to engage and empower my participants and adapt my leadership style to suit individual participant needs. When I realized that I could continue to pursue the outdoors as a career after college, I knew that the experience and skills that I gained at the Adventure Program would make me a competitive candidate. In the three years since graduation, I have been successful in being selected for job opportunities that have taken me across the country. Three years since leaving the Adventure Program, I find myself back as a Professional Staff member, eager to provide my student staff the same incredible experience that this program offered to me. I truly value RecWell's commitment to providing student powered experiences that promote personal growth.

 

Will Norris 

Student Employee

Learning Domain: Life Skills

I first started working for RecWell my second semester of my freshman year. As a 17-year-old Freshman, I felt as if I handed been handed all of the freedom in the world and as a result of this, I developed poor time-management habits. I realized that something needed to change, so I decided to get an on-campus job as a means of having something I needed to manage. I started out working as a basketball official and worked my way up to being a supervisor and then an administrative assistant. Throughout this time I noticed I was becoming more outgoing, more assertive, and overall just more confident in myself and my abilities. I learned how to manage conflict both on the court as an official and with participants as a supervisor. I also learned to be a leader with my fellow supervisors. I have already started to see these skills translate into my professional life as a Coordinator here at UMD and at my internship at a local hospital. I have learned how to interact and communicate effectively with many different types of people. But more importantly, I am no longer nervous or afraid to interact with people. From a more personal perspective, RecWell has helped me grow a lot and mature as a person and I am certain that I would not be close to the person I am today without my experiences in RecWell.

 

Luke Verdi 

Student Employee

Learning Domain: Personal & Interpersonal Skills

While working at RecWell, I was able to grow and develop immensely. It seemed like each day I was able to learn a new skill, or perfect one that I had already acquired as a result of my employment. I was in an environment that allowed me to become the best possible version of myself because of my ability to learn as I worked. Through my employment at RecWell, I learned how to better communicate with patrons and my peers, how to effectively supervise and mentor my peers, how to strategically plan and execute large scale projects, how to use critical thinking to solve problems, but most importantly I learned about who I was and who I wanted to be. RecWell enabled me to reflect and grow, and put me on the course toward achieving my goals. I see the various skills that I learned positively affecting my professional (and personal) life. I feel more equipped to handle tasks, responsibilities, and issues as they arise. I feel better able to connect and serve as a resource for my peers. I feel like I found a sense of belonging that helped me gain a sense of purpose. Without RecWell, I could not possibly imagine where I would be. I am forever thankful for every experience, lesson, or skill that I gained from RecWell.

 

Emily Shue 

Student Employee

Learning Domain: Personal & Interpersonal Skills

During my time as a student employee, I’ve learned countless lessons. The most impactful was realizing that I am capable of being an effective leader. Prior to working as a Climbing Wall Supervisor, Challenge Course Supervisor, and Adventure Trip Leader, I wasn’t confident in leading others. The idea of telling others what to do or being in charge wasn’t particularly appealing to me. Fortunately, my first RecWell supervisor gave me the chance to lead my fellow climbing wall staff. This opportunity taught me that leadership is multifaceted; it can take the form of leading by example, proactively checking in with staff members or even self-reflection. When I understood that leadership is fluid, I gained confidence in my ability to lead others. I also began to appreciate and value other’s unique leadership styles. This increased confidence has allowed me to take on more leadership roles, including my roles as Challenge Course Supervisor, Adventure Trip Leader, and currently, the Interim-Climbing Wall Manager. In the future, I hope to continue to find ways to lead others, whether in graduate school or as a physical therapist. Additionally, during my time as Interim Climbing Wall Manager, I hope to provide student staff with opportunities to lead, just as I had as a student.