“You can put your Christianity into your job by — if nothing else — the way you act and treat people.” That was the advice given to Jay Tropf by Professor Connie Updike when Jay was a recreation management major at Huntington University. Not only is that good general advice, but Jay also finds it very useful in his day-to-day job.
With his degree in hand, Jay went to work as an assistant golf professional with the First Tee of Augusta, Ga., a golf course focused on teaching life skills to children while they learn to play golf. “At first, there are always a few (children) that think it is going to be stupid, but by the end, they all love it,” Jay said. “Most of these kids have never had a positive male influence in their lives, and it is great that I can help brighten their day by teaching them golf.”
A 2005 graduate, Jay acknowledges that his four years at Huntington equipped him well for his job. In Professor Updike’s class, Jay had the opportunity to work with adults, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. “I think just being exposed to all of those kinds of people in a recreation setting really helped make it easy when I encounter situations today. Recreation management is so broad and covers so many types of things that we had the opportunity to see it all.”
“I definitely felt prepared when I left Huntington. When you are faced with something in your job, you can think back, and almost always, there was something like that covered in one of the classes.”
While Jay traveled with the university golf team to Florida every year for spring break, he still found time to take a trip with Huntington’s Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service. The group went to Chicago to work with an urban ministry and spend time with underprivileged children. “It was interesting to see how they lived and what they had to go through because now I understand what some of the kids I teach have had to go through to get to where they are today.”
Jay considered attending a larger, state university where he would have studied golf course design but could not have been on the golf team. Instead, he chose to attend Huntington where his major would be broad enough to offer many career options for him, and he could play on the golf team. It wasn’t all about golf, though. Because Jay knew the professors and the golf coach at Huntington truly cared about people, he decided it was the right school for him.
Jay found that he especially enjoyed learning in Connie Updike’s classes. “Professor Updike makes learning fun and will do anything for her students,” said Jay. “She made things so real and always had examples and real life experiences to go along with it. No matter what the situation was, she found a way to put a Christian perspective on it. Professor Updike was the best teacher I have ever had.”
Furthermore, Jay discovered that the Christian learning environment was better for him spiritually, too. He felt continually challenged by the chapel services to grow spiritually, and he also appreciated that his professors were teaching through their life experiences and faith. “It was just nice to know that all your professors believed what you believed and that they actually cared about you as not only a student but a person.”
Jay also valued the small class sizes in his recreation classes and that he could meet and know all of his classmates. But he insists, “The golf team made my college experience. To make those lasting friendships and memories was awesome.”Discover what Huntington University can do for you.
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