From a Jaguar to a Panther, a Student Success Story
Michael Guy’s relationship with the Department of Recreational Services began well before Georgia State University consolidated with Georgia Perimeter College in January of 2016. The consolidation had just been announced, so Melissa Buchheit, Director for Georgia State University’s Department of Recreational Services, went to the Clarkston campus to meet with Rodney Pegues, Georgia Perimeter College’s Director of Health, Wellness & Recreation, and Coach Anthony Edwards, Recreation Specialist. At that meeting, Buchheit was introduced to the student staff that worked at the Clarkston Campus recreation center. The first worker Buchheit met was Michael Guy.
“I was just about to graduate from Georgia Perimeter College when I met Melissa,” says Guy. He gave Buchheit a tour of the Clarkston Campus recreation center, which lasted nearly an hour and a half. Afterwards, Buchheit encouraged him visit the Student Recreation Center downtown. “I didn’t transfer to Georgia State University just because it consolidated with Georgia Perimeter College; I came to Georgia State University because I met Melissa Buchheit and she nudged me in the right direction,” explains Guy.
“I was terrified when I transferred downtown,” he laughs. “I’m from the suburbs, so downtown was not very familiar to me. My initial concern was getting lost on campus,” he explains. Another one of his concerns was “feeling like just another number.” But Guy was able to find resources to help him acclimate to his new surroundings. “Some of my friends from the Clarkston campus had previously transferred downtown. They showed me the ropes when I arrived and helped me adjust.” The Recreational Services professional staff also helped. “You can tell they care about the students that work for them,” says Guy.
Guy began working at the Student Recreation Center in the spring semester of 2016 as a facility attendant in the game room and equipment issue desk. He also gained experience working as a fitness attendant in the weight room. “He came highly recommended from Coach Anthony Edwards, his supervisor at the Clarkston Campus recreation center,” says Kacy Toberg, Assistant Director of Operations for Recreational Services. In fact, Guy felt very comfortable working in recreation. “I was essentially a supervisor at Clarkston, even though they don’t use that job title,” he explains. “When I started in an entry level position at the downtown campus, I was honestly a little discouraged. Now, I’m so grateful for that experience because I encountered things as an attendant that I never did at Clarkston.”
The following semester, Guy became a facility supervisor. “Michael kept looking for ways to help,” says Toberg. “He was so inquisitive, really taking the time to learn about our policies.” Guy continued to express interest in advancing and was chosen by Toberg as the team leader for all the facility supervisors. “I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people,” he says. “The higher I moved up the employment ladder, the more opportunities I saw opened to me.” In fact, Guy credits the opportunities for professional development and advancement as a contributing factor for keeping him motivated. “Recreational Services staff is great at advancing their student workers, and I took advantage of that,” states Guy.
Guy looks forward to using the experience he has gained working at the Student Recreation Center after he graduates. “I have acquired skills I never imagined I would acquire working at a recreation facility. My job constantly keeps me on my toes and ready to tackle the next task.” Guy is majoring in Human Learning and Development and hopes to work in higher education, perhaps as a professor or advisor, after graduation. Looking back, Toberg muses, “It was apparent from the beginning that Michael was a hard worker. And he made a great first impression on our Director!” Michael continues to impress, recently expressing interest in helping Perimeter campus students transition to employment on the downtown campus. “I’m so proud of his work and how he represents himself and the department,” says Toberg. “He has a heart for being helpful.”