Elizabeth McDonald

Hometown: Newton, Massachusetts
College: Engineering
Major: Science of Earth Systems
Year: 2018

I’ve played soccer since I was three years old and been a referee for the sport since I was 11, so when I arrived for New Student Check-In my first day here, I excitedly walked up to a table of students recruiting referees for intramural sports and asked where to sign up. They told me that they had “the best job on campus” and that they had met all of their best friends through the program. Really all I wanted was a little extra money to spend in college. And maybe a bit of exercise.

Cornell Intramurals has given me so much more than I envisioned that day. I expected it to be a way to stay involved with soccer for a couple of hours every week. Instead, it has become an outlet for professional development, public speaking, teaching, mentoring, and my favorite way to escape from the daily stress of school. I progressed from a referee to a supervisor, overseeing all of the intramural sports, participants, and referees. I get to interact daily with undergraduates, graduates, and even professors that I otherwise would never have met. Intramural sports are truly unique in that way. They bring together people from all over the world, from all seven colleges, of all ages, who share a love of a sport (or maybe have no idea what they’re doing but just want to have fun with friends). As a supervisor I get to work with students who have never officiated before, helping with rules, signals, and player management. Officiating is challenging but rewarding, and it’s incredible to see timid first-years develop skills in leadership, communication, conflict management, and problem solving in the split second they have to make a decision on the field or court.

My coworkers in intramurals are some of my best friends at Cornell and participants have become familiar friendly faces on campus. The recruiters were right when they said that working for intramural sports was the best job on campus; we get paid to exercise while watching friends play a wide array of sports. Cornell Intramurals has become one of the most defining parts of my college experience, one of my favorite topics of conversation, and one of the best developmental decisions I’ve made. Shameless plug: come work for intramural sports or at least come participate — we have over 25 options at all levels of competition! 10/10 would recommend!