Being the Best "You" You Can Be
How did you become interested in RMP?
I came into school undeclared, deciding between many choices from Hospitality Management and Ecogastronomy to Pre-Med (I wanted to be an orthodontist for a while). So I had pretty much done it all by my sophomore year! During my first semester of sophomore year, my advisor at the time (shout-out to Nate Talbot) advised me to take an RMP course, explaining to me that it is centrally involved around people and working with them in recreation environments. After taking the introductory class with Sean McLaughlin, I was hooked. I felt like it was the right fit for me and that I could mold my future with this major. Having been undeclared for a year and half, I was a bit apprehensive about actually declaring a major, but then I took RMP 501 with Jessie Bennett. This class revolves around centrally working with people with disabilities in recreation services. But it was more than that – Jessie made it interactive and interesting to learn a tough topic for most people to grasp. For me, working with people with disabilities is easy – I have a brother who has both Autism and Dwarfism, so I have been around people with disabilities my entire life. RMP 501 brought so much to my life and general knowledge of people that I was not aware of, and because of it, I felt like I was able to better myself both academically & maturely. Now that I’m a Junior in the program, I’ve become a fanatic about the psychology behind people and the business side of recreation, and hope to continue my studies with minors in Psychology and Business Administration.
How do you connect what you're learning in RMP with your personal experiences?
I use a lot of RMP techniques throughout my life. Since declaring last year, I believe my major has allowed my interpersonal skills to improve astronomically. I have no problem talking to random strangers, potential employers, or those who may still be trying to break out of their shells. Additionally, I am a leader in the UNH community; I was a June Orientation Leader last summer, and I currently hold two executive positions within The Residential Hall Association and The Recreation Society respectively. I am currently an RA in one of the best halls on campus (a.k.a Scott Hall), and I am planning on being a Senior Staff member for Orientation and First-Year programs next summer. I think that RMP’s servant leadership approach - reflecting on what you can do to better yourself, having passion for what you do, and expressing integrity in your everyday – have allowed me to thrive as a leader (with additional help from leadership programs like Emerging Leaders and Leadership Camp). I enjoy being a voice of the community but want other students to realize the importance that recreation and leisure have for our physical and mental health. In other words, I’m trying to show people that life isn’t all about work. It’s important to have fun! Also, person-first language, a topic which I learned from RMP 501, is something I still use every day. I even made a bulletin board for my residents in Scott Hall!
What are your future career plans?
I have a lot of future career goals. My first career goal is to open up a business with my family called Today’s Special. Under this business, we would help supply people with disabilities with job opportunities and social experiences so they have opportunities to contribute to society after they finish school. Being a brother to someone with disabilities who just graduated from high school, there aren’t a lot of job options for him to continue with in his adult life. I hope to create this business that will not only allow for employment opportunities, but will change the overall stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities in general. All people – regardless of their abilities – have value, and I believe that Today’s Special will create a more positive world for people with disabilities. However, I have plenty of other goals. I’ve considered working in the surfing industry, big-name music festivals like Coachella, and other recreational services. I’ve also contemplated working at an occupation that would let me focus on leadership development of others – I don’t know if I have found that position yet, but I’m looking for it! I have even thought about becoming a wine connoisseur when I’m older! For now, I’m looking into interning with 3S Artspace for next semester. The world is too big to settle for one thing. I may be dreaming big, but someone’s got to do it!
Explain some of your favorite aspects of our program.
My favorite part of the RMP program? The RMPeople! Both the students and faculty really make the major what it is. I really appreciate the fact that everyone supports each other in their endeavors of what they are passionate for. The faculty takes the time to get to know me. RMPeople just have this understanding amongst each other. RMPeople are people-people, and the more we interact the more we connect! Another thing I love is The Recreation Society. As I mentioned earlier, I hold the president position of The Recreation Society this year, and I love knowing that during our expansion year this year we have had a consistent group of newcomers interested in our field! I love watching us grow from a small organization last year to almost tripling in size this year! So proud of my RMPeople. Plus, I take the coolest classes (Entrepreneurial and Commercial Recreation, Recreation and Event Leadership, Applied Marketing in Recreational Services, just to name a few.) I can’t really narrow it down to one favorite thing – I guess it would just have to be RMP as a whole!
Why would you recommend this program to future students?
EVERYONE SHOULD TRY RMP! At least a discovery course – It really helps your ability to work with people. Again – my major is all about stressing the importance of recreation has on people’s physical and mental wellbeing. You learn business skills but also psychological cues that help you interact with people. It’s a great way for people to release stress, find solace, and have fun, and I love being able to be a part of their experience. (Side note: RMP majors are DEFINITELY some of the happiest majors around!)
Is there any advice that you would like to give to future students?
1) Consider the servant leadership approach in your everyday life. Are you reflecting on what you’ve accomplish and striving to be better? Do you have passion for what you’re doing? Do you practice integrity? What does integrity mean to you? 2) Be optimistic & live life to the fullest. Life is too short to not be happy. The way you perceive something is how your mindset will remain going into something. There’s always a silver lining to everything you do, it might just be hard to find it than you think. 3) Be proud of who you are. You are you for a reason. Be the best “you” YOU can be!