Kyle Ary – Oklahoma State University
I remember it was spring of 2006 in my sophomore year at Oklahoma State University. I was actually at a speed reading seminar when I received a phone call. It was in the middle of the seminar so I didn’t get the chance to answer it so I gave the unknown number a call back during a break. His name was Justin Gamble, someone I never had met, and was saying I had been recommended for a summer internship with Southwestern Advantage where I could make a lot more money than I had the previous summer (working at a BBQ restaurant in my hometown) as well as gain some great experience. Ironically, the seminar was in the room I was in that moment which was pretty unique. The next day I went to check it out and it really appealed to me and seemed like the next step. After making the selection process a spot was offered to me three days later in the Southwestern Internship program, which I gladly accepted even without talking to my parents. I remember going home that weekend to Bartlesville, Oklahoma to surprise my folks with the great news. Their reaction was not what I anticipated. After telling my parents the news my mom emphatically said “no” and that she was going to “put her foot down” about the internship. My dad was kinda quiet about the whole thing and somewhat neutral. Being a twenty year old adult I told them that regardless I was going do it. I would later find out that my dad’s brother (my uncle) participated with the program back in 1969. After my manager visited my folks, they warmed up a bit and I gained their support. Flash forward to May when we left for sales school and I did not really know what to expect, however; I still couldn’t wait to see what was next.
Following sales school our group set off to North Carolina for the summer. We set up our headquarters in Statesville, North Carolina with a family whose daughter sold books 5 or 6 years earlier. I remember waking up for my first day and was really nervous. I remember my manager prepared me for this and that action would cure fear. I didn’t realize it at the time but that would become so very true. I can remember that first door and hearing the woman walk to the door and I stood there scared outta my mind. Looking back it’s quite funny. I got through my first day and had two customers my first day which I was pretty excited about that. I worked with my manager the next day and never seen anyone work that hard which prepared me how hard I was gonna work the rest of the summer. Throughout that first Southwestern summer there were definitely some low points such as the first few weeks facing rejection and being awkward at the job, but also a lot of high points such as making over $500 in a day and having the best week out of any first year in my whole organization several times. Going through check out was a fun experience since the summer had come to an end and school was on my mind.
The most rewarding part was getting my check. My first summer I didn’t blow it out of the water but my gross profit was a little over $7,000 and I knew I had earned every penny. Looking back I realize the only reason I had any success that summer was that I worked really hard seeing 30 families per day. It wasn’t because I was a smooth talker because that was far from the truth. I credit the key to my success my first summer to just working the hours, seeing 30 families per day, doing the things I was taught, and just being committed to finishing what I start.
Its funny how one single phone call changed the trajectory of my entire life. After my first summer I had gained an immense amount of confidence and it was wild the amount of change for the better my friends and family saw in myself. I went from a quiet, bashful kid to a confident, energetic adult. My first summer taught me to go out into the unknown more. My experience inspired me to study abroad in Spain while in school and to visit other countries. It also made me want to share my Southwestern internship experience with other students and change their lives for the better the way it did to my own.