Wow, the summer of 2013. Some people remember it as an extremely wet summer (most rain on record for Connecticut in 100 years) some people remember it as a scorcher (also hottest on record in about 30 years). For me though, I will always remember it as the summer I earned calluses on my knuckles. The reason I say “earned” is because I am so darn proud of having them. This was one thing my Student Leader, Zach, warned me about. I laughed it off, but it’s a real thing after about 3 weeks.
I’ll start out with what I was before the summer — a mess. I feel like that’s a good word to describe who I was. My priorities included parties, girls, and being the center of attention. My classes at KU and being a wholesome person were barely thoughts in my head, but that was because of who I surrounded myself with — my frat brothers. Love them as I may, they were not the best influences. When Zach asked me to join his team, the first thing we set as a priority was establishing a personal connection; one where if I were troubled I could talk with him about it. I think that’s one of the most important things someone can share with another person — genuine trust. Knowing he had my trust, Zach harnessed it and did everything in his power to enable my success.
Fast forward to the summertime, and whoa, it’s faster than you think. The things our leaderships coached us on like goal setting, working through obstacles, keeping a good attitude, and focusing on the things you are in control of made an incredible difference. These lessons are what made this experience so important for me. Southwestern Advantage taught me to control my attitude when facing challenges and “go to the next door” and to be technically prepared for situations by being “word-for-word.” But this isn’t an amazing internship because you learn a sales pitch and knock on a bunch of doors. I could lay bricks and work that hard this summer. It’s not even the $$$ which is what originally got my attention. I’m now seeing that it’s gaining the mental toughness to know that no matter what life throws your way, whether it be car issues (they happen), or rain (it happens), or face-to-face rejection (it certainly happens), even people looking down on you through a preconceived notion (take a guess). You never frown, and you never settle. Finish what you start, work until you’re done, and set goals that scare you. If you’re not scared, you’re not trying.
What Zach did for me remains as important as any one person ever has — he took a risk and helped someone who didn’t know they needed it.
My Southwestern Advantage experience is still continuing, still being molded. I hope how I’ve changed is heard through my words and seen through my actions. Feel free to message me if you want to know more, but believe me, before your calluses thicken, you’ll be scared. The calluses though, they’ll act like a shield; and once they form, you’re a juggernaut with only two things on your mind: helping as many families as possible and having fun
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