Any job is what you make of it. Richard, a Civil Engineering major from Fort Worth who has been with RecSports Intramural Sports staff for the last seven semesters, firmly believes that his time at RecSports didn’t just provide a fun after school job but offered an experience that equipped him with lifelong skills. Along the way he found lifelong friends as well.
A Balancing Act
As any student knows, homework and classes take up a lion’s share of time, and with a major as demanding as civil engineering, one would think that a job outside of school would not be a new freshman’s top priority when they arrive on campus. Richard, however, arrived on the Forty Acres ready and eager to find something to fill his time outside of school, and after coming across a RecSports table at orientation he decided he wanted to “get in the game,” joined RecSports, and never looked back.
Richard’s first job was officiating with the Youth Volleyball program — a program in which RecSports officials and staff ref local youth volleyball leagues. For Richard, this was “very different from working with students on campus” — it was a more competitive, more intense — but also fun — environment than recreational intramural sports. As Richard put it, “It wasn’t just college kids having fun, it was students in middle school competing seriously,” and the young athletes’ drive and determination in their sport inspired him to become more involved in officiating competitive sports.
Instilling Confidence from the Beginning
Furthermore, Richard says officiating these games instilled a level of confidence in him that he would learn to bring to the courts and fields on-campus, and that would eventually carry over into his professional career in engineering. When asked what makes a good official, Richard answered “consistency and confidence” — two skills, Richard later learned, that translate well to the post-graduate working world. Confidence was “always tough” for Richard, and his time on Team RecSports helped instill a level of confidence that has served him well in his professional endeavors.
“ Life is full of judgement calls, and it’s really good to practice that in sports where you have to make a call then and there, and stick to that call, and it’s really helped me be better at doing that in my whole life.”
“It’s a different feeling than any other job I’ve had.”
In Richard’s experience, working as an official for RecSports is more than an after school job.The job provides the perks of having a flexible schedule for busy students, but it also gives the opportunity to be a leader and take responsibility. For Richard, the job felt real and meaningful in a way that no other job had before, and it was empowering for him.
“…it’s a job where you’re out there doing something that feels meaningful. The very first level of this job is you spend an hour out there running a court or a field or a game and it’s very empowering.”
When it came time to begin interviewing for internships, Richard could point to real world skills — managing courts and fields, training peers and other students, and communicating with the various teams — from his time on the fields as an official. “There’s constantly things I’m doing where it’s almost like I’m an “adult” doing “adult” work — consistently making schedules, emailing, corresponding.”
More Than a Paycheck
Beyond the fields, Richard has found lifelong friends among his fellow staff members at RecSports. The group will get ice cream after games, and hang out, with Richard reminiscing that “we’ve all gotten so close we’re almost like our own social group, we’re our own org of sorts.” In fact, Richard’s current roommates are friends he met on staff, and his friend group even took a trip to Colorado over spring break a couple years ago. When it comes to what he would tell those considering a job with RecSports, Richard emphasized that “It’s not just a job. If you want it to just be a job, you can do that, but it’s really hard to avoid making friends and getting a big life around this job, and it’s been my biggest way of making friends.” The only regret Richard has? Not getting more involved with the team sooner. “If I could I would go back and officiate more sports sooner just so I could be more involved in the RecSports atmosphere.”
Though Richard’s time on the Forty Acres and with RecSports is coming to an end, this may not be the last time you’ll see Richard on the fields and courts. Beyond his engineering industry career goals, he notes his work at RecSports has inspired him to think more about one day coaching high school sports.
Richard Reynolds is a senior, civil engineering major in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Richard is from Fort Worth, TX and currently serves as an Official and Program Assistant at RecSports. In addition to his on-campus involvement, Richard has worked as a Civil Engineering Intern at Peloton Land Solutions and served as a Program Lead in the National Youth Leadership Training. After graduation, Richard plans to pursue civil engineering through land development.