Michelle Stupay is a freshman student who is getting more than what she's paid for. A job opportunity with the football team here at Auburn University was not only the decision maker on whether to attend Auburn or not, but also gave her a second family with unlimited blessings.
1. How did you find out about the job in the Athletic Department here at Auburn?
I was an equipment manager at my high school back in Virginia. I became close with the coaches and they were willing to make a few phone calls for me once I was accepted into the schools I had looked into. Auburn was a school that I looked into for horses a few years ago, but I decided it was too expensive for me to attend because of my out-of-state status. I applied anyway to see if I could get in. When I got accepted, an assistant coach told me he could help me get a position with the football program here at Auburn. His brother swam here and was a 9-time All American so he had a few networking connections established. "With that opportunity available I scratched my hopes of transferring to Virginia Tech after a year of community college and chose Auburn," Stupay said. Although I am neck deep in loans, It was definitely worth the risk!
2. What is your job title and what duties does the job entail?
This first season on staff I was a "student equipment manager." Our duties were to wash and distribute all laundry, clean helmets, help with practice set up/drills, walk-throughs, game day set up, pre-game drills, keeping the sideline orderly during the game and almost anything else you could think of that would involve equipment. Starting this (current) spring I will be moving from equipment to the Sports Medicine staff and will begin my time as a "student athletic trainer." That mostly means water girl during practice and an assigned job on game day, but with the time and experience I will gain it can lead to professions in physical therapy, sports medicine and other athletic jobs I am interested in.
3. Does the job relate to your major or any of your coursework?
The equipment manager job was something I planned to pursue hopefully in the NFL, but after working in Auburn's equipment room I learned and decided that job was not for me. I always had an interest in physical therapy, but also on the fence about extra school after I get my Bachelors. I decided that I wanted to major in both exercise and nutrition. I am a double major in those two subjects with hopes of getting into physical therapy or sports medicine in the NFL.
4. Do you believe your first semester of your freshman year was significantly different from others due to this job?
Definitely! First of all, I would have never came to Auburn if it wasn't for this opportunity knocking at my door. Auburn was too expensive for me to attend. I was supposed to stay in state, but working with the team was not an everyday opportunity so I felt I had to take it. My first semester probably would have been different if not for my job. I wouldn't have made the same friends, same choices and I wouldn't have made the same connections. If I had not participated in this my first semester I believe I wouldn't have had an idea of what I wanted to major in and I'd be lost when it came to my social life. I've met my best friend through one of the players and I owe him for that.
5. What has been the biggest benefit to your life due to the job?
The biggest benefit I've received through this job is the family that I have found. Yes, it sounds cliché after this season's "FAMILY" theme, but it's true. I've made some close friends and shared experiences that are unforgettable. The weekend in Glendale, AZ was a dream come true and having my best friend there to share it with made it even better. The coaches are a blessing and I’m glad to have become close with some of them. Trooper Taylor is a father-like figure to me here at Auburn and I can always go to him with my troubles. All in all, the Auburn Family is one that I’m happy to have become a part of. I now know I will always be taken care of and that I’ll end up where I belong because of their love and support. War Eagle!