Lucas Karasch – Wheaton College
I had never heard of the Southwestern Advantage internship before until a good friend from high school in Scottsdale, AZ, returned from his first summer. “Lucas, it was such an incredible experience, you should totally do this with me next summer!” I thought to myself, why would anybody in their right mind voluntarily give up their college summer vacation to work eighty hours a week going door-to-door selling education books?
I politely listened to my friend’s spiel and declined his offer.
Soon thereafter, my Dad lost his job and could no longer support my private college education as I entered my junior year. He was unemployed for over a year, my Mom went back to work after staying at home since I was born, and everything changed… including my perspective.
I decided to kick it into gear and graduate a year early to save money. I also began thinking more seriously about working with my high school buddy that summer to help pay off the loan I took out to pay for my third and final year at Wheaton College.
When I told my parents I wanted to work with my friend selling books for the summer, they urged me to make sure I thought through my decision thoroughly before committing my summer to such a “rigorous” experience. You see, this was my last summer as a college student and neither my parents nor I knew what my future held post-graduation. One thing we both knew was that I probably would not return home to Arizona any time soon seeing most of my potential career connections and networks were now in the Chicago area.
It was a difficult decision because I knew it would have meant the world to my parents had I spent my last summer at home. However, after learning about the type of character, drive, diligence, and perseverance the Southwestern summer program required, I believed the amount of pride my parents would have in me from only three months of work with Southwestern would far outweigh the warm feelings acquired from me being physically present those three months. I was committed to proving that my parents raised me incredibly well and equipped me with the skills to live responsibly and independently. I was willing to sacrifice my last summer—something many other college students did not want to part with—to make things a bit easier for my parents as well as my future.
Little did I know, in choosing to do the right thing when it was not the easiest or most comfortable decision, I was preparing myself already for my Southwestern summer. Not only did I finish my summer with an extremely proud set of parents, but I also walked away with a $12,500 check and a full-time job offer from the company. Southwestern’s summer sales and leadership program is a very crazy means to a very worthwhile end of developing students and giving them the opportunity to achieve their developmental, spiritual, and monetary goals at an early age. While there are many companies and internships that tell young people they have to “put in their time before they can achieve,” Southwestern Advantage believes in college students and their unique ability to cultivate many of the success principles that most adults hope to learn over the course of their entire life.