On most days, the sun hasn’t raised by the time that Noreen Siddiqui swipes into Recreational Sports.
Monday through Friday, Siddiqui arrives at 6:30 a.m. wearing her Milwaukee Brewers baseball hat. Even though she says she’s “not a good morning person,” interacting with the Recreational Sports Student Employees makes the early mornings worth it.
When Siddiqui leaves Recreational Sports after her workout, usually consisting of cardio and weight training, she walks to work, which is a pretty manageable stroll.
“I work in Waldo Hall,” which happens to be just a stone’s throw from Dixon.
One of the benefits of Siddiqui’s early morning workouts is prime parking.
“All of my coworkers have noticed that I get one of the only three parking spots outside of Waldo Hall and they ask ‘how do you get this spot all of the time?’ I say, ‘it’s one the benefits of coming early and working out.’”
Great parking aside, Siddiqui says it’s the extra energy and feeling of good health that really makes a difference in her professional life, as she serves as an academic advisor in Oregon State University’s Exploratory Studies Program. It doesn’t take but a second to find out what Siddiqui loves most about her job.
“Certainly my favorite thing about my job is helping students,” Siddiqui said, energetically. “The best parts of my day are when students say, ‘thank you – you helped me solve this problem,’ or when a student comes to me in distress, whether that is emotional or academic, I like being able to calm them down and have them leave feeling a lot better about whatever the situation is.
“That is the best part — being able to help students and see that happen in real time — to be able to connect them with a solution right away.”
Early on, Siddiqui knew that she wanted to pursue a career in student support and success.
“I figured out pretty quickly my own sophomore year of college that I wanted to work in Student Affairs,” she said. “I was in a student organization and a Resident Assistant, and when I worked with the professional staff members I thought, ‘your job is really cool. How do I do that?’”
After receiving her Master’s degree from Iowa State University, Siddiqui and her husband eventually landed at OSU. Siddiqui says she loves it in Corvallis.
After getting settled with work and life at OSU, Siddiqui’s husband encouraged her to consider becoming a member of Recreational Sports.
“I wasn’t feeling as well as I used to,” she said. “I looked at a couple of different options in the community and I realized when I started comparing things that Recreational Sports made the most sense. It was the most affordable, the most convenient and it had so many more opportunities and things that I could do here rather than anywhere else. So I told myself, ‘I need to do this, so I am going to do this, and if I’m going to do this I am going to come every single day and make it a part of my routine.’”
Since making the decision to become a Recreational Sports member, Siddiqui has made good on her promise to herself and experienced some extra benefits of membership along the way.
“The health part has been huge,” she said. “I sleep so much better, I feel so much better; I don’t feel so tired anymore.”
But more than that, Siddiqui brings it back to the students, noting, “The student staff is awesome. They make everyone feel so welcome, especially Matt and Monica, they are absolutely amazing!”
Siddiqui has gotten to know some of the Recreational Sports students so well that recently one of the student employees said, “I feel like you’re my second advisor and I wanted to tell you that I got into grad school!”
While Siddiqui spends most of her day supporting students, she recognizes that for her, Recreational Sports is the partner supporting her — every morning before daybreak.