During the first couple weeks of school I tried to be a social butterfly. I went through formal recruitment, joined club volleyball, went to every event during WOW (week of welcome). My roommate and I knocked on every door in the dorm to introduce ourselves and I signed up for about 20 different clubs (which three years later I still get emails from…). I had this idea in my head that I was going to meet my forever best friends during my first year of college so I filled my schedule up to the brim in hopes of finding my place and finding my group of friends. I did find my forever friends that year but not in any of the places that I thought I would.
Little did I know that my coworkers would turn into my best friends.
I worked as a dodgeball and volleyball official. Intramurals was never just a job for me but I didn’t know when I first started how much of a part it would become of my college experience. My brother worked as a supervisor in the intramural program and was the reason I joined. I used work as another excuse to hang out with him. I’d convince him to take shifts that I was working, I’d go visit him out on other shifts or just stop by the office to say hi. I originally applied to be a supervisor because I wanted to work as a supervisor with my brother to hang out with him even more. Unfortunately I didn’t get hired until after he had graduated – actually thinking about it I was his replacement as I got hired the quarter he left.
But back to the story –
After working as a ref for a couple quarters I began to recognize the participants outside of the gym, around campus. The first time a participant said hi to me outside of the intramurals setting I was shocked, like they didn’t just see me as their ref on Monday nights but a fellow student. Intramurals made Cal Poly feel a lot smaller of a school than it actually is because I would run into people I had reffed every where I went. I recognized more people from intramurals than I did from any of the clubs I had signed up for. I started forming genuine connections with some of the participants and still hang out with a few of them.
We had ref meetings every week where someone would bring snacks, we would share stories and talk about sports. They are awesome! But they also create an environment where you got to bond with your fellow refs. You hung out with people with a common passion (of sports) for an hour every week. Our ref group soon became volleyball fam and would hang out outside of work and I still keep in touch with some of the older refs that graduated. The people who I was closest with moved up to being supervisors. This just gave me a reason to stop by the office even more and spend more time out on shifts even if I wasn’t working. Intramurals became a place I wanted to be whether I was getting paid or not.
When I finally became a supervisor everything became even better than it already was. I was immediately welcomed into the group. The veteran supervisors had all worked with my brother and saw me as the little sister but also welcomed me as their little sister. I got to spend around 20 hours a week getting paid to be around sports and hang out with my best friends. If that isn’t the best campus job ever I don’t know what is.
Though they were my co-workers I didn’t really think of them as that. I saw them as my friends first and foremost. We all share common passions and interests, have a great work ethic and have the highest of goals. We all support each other in any endeavor someone takes on. Through my highs and my lows they’ve seen them all.
In them I found a group I can 100% be myself 100% of the time.
My boss became a great mentor of mine and has watched me grow over the last few years. I’m not one to really open up or be vulnerable especially in a work place but he helped me feel comfortable and his door was always open. I could go in when I was bored and just wanted to chat or if I was emotional and conflicted. I will forever be grateful for having him as a boss, especially during college when life is constantly changing.
All of the refs were some of my favorite people – especially my football refs. I don’t really know football but they made my last two quarters unforgettable. The laughs were often and sometimes I wish I wasn’t there supervisor and could just be their friend.
My time with intramurals ended early but I wouldn’t change it for a thing. Though it was filled with my fair share of people yelling at me, I loved every moment of it. As I get ready to take a quarter off of school and try new things I know that they’ll always have my back. If I need anything these next few months or in a couple years I know that any of them will be just a text away. I feel truly blessed. My co-workers are truly my forever people.