Emily Griepentrog – Finding the competitor within
I became friends with this really cool kid, Abel Gunn, my Freshman year of college in Wisconsin. Two months into our first semester he told me about this crazy summer thing where he moved across the country, lived with some awesome college kids, and raced to the shower every morning. It sounded like a strange adventure. Abel was one of my favorite people to be around. I figured if I spent the summer with another college kids as fun as him it would be worth it.
A few weeks later I learned details to how the Southwestern Advantage summer program works. Friends, weddings, and a carefree summer back home made me want to forget that I had this opportunity. I had no concept at that point what a challenge the summer would be, but I had to know how I would do. I wanted to know if I could make that much money, if I would find best friends, and if I would win a trip to Mexico.
Although I had decided I would sell books months before hand, the reality of it didn’t hit me until the week before I left. Packing and leaving my friends made me uncomfortable. Before I left for sales school Abel gave me the best pep talk ever. He told me that that I would have some of the toughest days alone on the bookfield. He made me promise to never stop working no matter how frustrated I would get. I trusted the managers who had done this before and I figured that as long as I worked my hardest it’d be a good summer.
After sales school and my first three weeks selling I felt like I had set my goals too high. I was working hard, but not selling as much as everyone else. The first weeks out I remember knocking on my first house each day thinking, only fifty more until I get through today. It wasn’t until week four that I felt momentum. I got snapped into the good habits I had formed. Waking up in the morning was normal and I was able to enjoy parts of my days. I started reaching my weekly goals and felt this competitive push against myself. The drive that had scared me before the summer now became my strength. I wasn’t dependent on anyone else, but was able to control exactly how I felt at the end of my day working. Each day my limit was only what I was willing to give. Seeing my name jump in the pacesetter each week only pushed me further.
I would have never seen myself as competitive before the summer. When you take on a summer with Southwestern, you realize that every hour of the day is up to you. The excuses you choose or fight through directly impact you.
My first Southwestern summer took every effort, but gave me every result. I was so focused on staying on schedule and doing all the small things right that I didn’t realize how much money I was making literally until my check was handed to me. I had become stronger mentally over the twelve weeks of the summer than I had ever imagined. Coming home to my parents and friends with this full sense of accomplishment made me excited to see how much better I could do the next year.
I decided to sell books because I wanted to find out for myself what I could gain. I’m so thankful for the friends and memories in Mexico and all over the world. During the summer you will feel as though you have this impossible task to conquer. That fight makes the bond you form with your roommates and the other kids on your team so strong. The summer changed my appreciation for the life I have. When you level with yourself about selling with Southwestern Advantage for a first summer don’t ignore that voice that wants to see how well you can do!