It's All in the Name: An Interview With Hope Gulley
Hope Gulley, a membership supervisor at the Recreation and Wellness Center, is a living testament to her own name. She talks about time management, joy, and her own "hope" for the future.
Time management, perseverance, and a solid work ethic are three skills that are necessary for a successful collegiate experience. Some of us quickly learn that staying up until 3 a.m. to finish a procrastinated English Lit. paper is foolish, while others spend four years just trying to make it to class each week. One student employee has not only mastered these skills, but she exudes them every day through her employment at the Auburn University Recreation and Wellness Center. Meet Hope Gulley.
In the spring of 2013, Hope began working at The Rec as one of the first membership specialists hired before the facility even opened. “During my very first year as an Auburn student, I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2012-2013 Diamond Dolls organization,” she says. “While working in that organization, I met Kelli Bagwell, the former graduate assistant for Membership at Campus Recreation. She approached me with the opportunity to be a part of the first membership student staff at Auburn.” Hope was then promoted to membership supervisor in September of 2013. “It’s been a dream,” she professes.
As a membership supervisor, Hope has many responsibilities. “We perform the same duties as any membership specialist,” Gulley explains. “Supervisors are responsible for promoting and selling memberships to eligible patrons, for creating a fun yet professional work environment for membership specialists and for setting an example for excellent customer service and work ethic for our specialists.” Hope is also responsible for attending biweekly meetings with professional staff and navigating a group of four membership specialists through their employment at the Recreation and Wellness Center.
“Being a supervisor is a lot of responsibility,” says Hope, “but it is a humbling opportunity that each supervisor has worked for and earned.”
In addition to her responsibilities at the Recreation and Wellness Center, Hope is also a full-time nursing student. “Nursing students typically take 12 hours of classes each semester, which doesn’t include the additional clinical hours,” Hope explains. These clinical hours can range anywhere from 180-200 hours a semester. “Though it is taxing, our professors and program are very supportive of each of us. It’s such an encouraging environment. They push us to be the absolute best we can be.”
Hope is also a tutor for the school of nursing, and she works as a nanny for several families in Auburn. “Tutoring has taught me the importance of preparation and organization. I also love helping younger nursing students navigate through nursing school. It has actually sparked my desire to pursue a master’s degree in nursing education down the road,” she says.
On an average day, Hope may attend any combination of classes or nursing clinicals, work at the Recreation and Wellness Center, nanny, tutor or study. “And maybe a smidgen of catching up with my friends or watching Netflix,” Hope jokes.
Hope is also starting her own calligraphy company, 12th & Penn Designs. “I’m spending a lot of time organizing my products and putting together the business aspect of the company, but I’m filling small orders when I have time. Needless to say, I’m very busy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
With all of these responsibilities and time-consuming activities, Hope has learned the importance of finding sources of inspiration when she is tired and stressed. “My main source of energy and inspiration is truly my Heavenly Father,” explains Hope. “I love going to my room and sitting down with His Word or listening to a sermon. It forces me to mentally replace my millions of ‘to-do lists’ with the promises and words of my savior. Nothing is more calming and de-stressing than that.”
Hope also cites her parents as a huge source of inspiration. “My dad is the hardest-working man I know. He taught me that success isn’t about how many hours you work. It’s about working your hardest while investing in the people around you.” Hope also draws a great amount of encouragement from her mother. “My mother was the kindest and most intentional woman I’ve ever known,” says Hope. “Though she passed away nine years ago, she still inspires me every day to be intentional as Christ was; not just with friends, but with co-workers, professors, and strangers.”
Through all of these experiences, Hope has learned many life lessons. “Time management is key,” she explains. “I live by my planner; every minute of my day is planned out; I’m not even kidding!” She also advocates the importance of planning out personal time during each day. “Whether you recharge by being with others or by sitting in your room alone for 30 minutes like me– make that time. I’ve struggled with investing so much time into other responsibilities and people that eventually I exhaust myself. Making time for yourself is so important.”
Outside of her responsibilities, Hope enjoys spending time with her close friends, whom she draws great support and encouragement from. “My friends are the most joyful, spunky, and understanding people. They are all such inspirations to me. They are truly wonderful people and make life much easier to walk through.”
Looking to life after Auburn, Hope has big goals for herself. “After graduating, I am planning to work for one or two years to gain entrance into the Travel Nursing Program for America. This would allow me to pursue two of my passions: nursing and travel.” Hope also plans to specialize in Pediatric Critical Care, and later in her future she plans on pursuing a higher education degree in a dual program for nurse practitioning and nursing education. Hope praises her employment at the Recreation and Wellness Center for teaching her many life skills. “The biggest concept I’ve learned while working at The Rec is the weight of words,” explains Hope. “So often I find myself speaking to others with a naïve disregard for their situation. We don’t know what others are going through, and working at The Rec has shown me that.”
“My work at the Recreation and Wellness Center is more than just a job,” explains Hope. “They teach us to become the compassionate men and women we are made to be. It’s such an incredible work environment, and to say ‘I’m grateful’ is a drastic understatement.”
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Henry G. and Julia B.