Matt Seitz – Asbury University
I didn’t sell books with Southwestern Advantage for the same reason that all the other people at my college did. I went to a small private liberal arts college that was very expensive and so a lot of students heard you could make $8,000 in a summer and really needed to pay for school. Well 100% my school was paid for through a scholarship, don’t get me wrong I’m not smart my dad was a professor but I already had two summer jobs lined up anyway. I know other students took on the Southwestern Internship for work experience in business and sales or just for a resume builder to begin with, but to be honest I was a psychology major and my freshman year I was not forward thinking enough to care what was on my resume. But for some reason when I received a call and invitation to come to the informational meeting my curiosity got the best of me and I went just to check it out I thought why not keep my options open and so I went.
In the informational meeting it really hit me that working for Southwestern was more about learning how to deal with rejection, learn how to motivate myself, and stay positive. I thought those were very desired qualities and all that was required of me was that I was willing to learn something new (Southwestern’s way of selling), work really hard, and not give up even when I want to. It was going to be incredibly challenging and required a certain caliber of character and person to do well. To be honest I had never really gotten to the chance to see how hard of a worker I was, learn how to sell something when I had no previous experience in sales, never giving up let alone if I could be away from friends and family for 3 months. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I’ve never done something tough in my life I used to play organized sports and different activities all the time but non of those was to this scale nor did the success or the failure ever fall solely on my shoulders. If I was going to succeed in the Southwestern program my success would be my success and my failure would be my failure and no one else’s. Needless to say I made my decision that I was going to work for Southwestern and I was going to be successful.
That summer I drove from Lexington, Kentucky to Nashville for training and then from Nashville to San Francisco, California. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as nervous as I was my first day, as I got out of my car and knocked on my first door I got a response that I would learn to become familiar with throughout my first day and first few weeks especially, and that was that the family simply waved for me to go away through the window and turned back to watch TV and ignored me. The rest of my day went very similar and at the end of the day I had only seen eighteen people when we are trained to see thirty to thirty five, and out of those eighteen I showed my books I was selling to ZERO. That’s right ZERO. Needless to say I had a very slow start, and my first week of sales I had three customers for my whole week which was bad very bad. My second week didn’t go much better and I was on pace to not make any money but I held in there until my third week. The Tuesday morning of my third week I remember a mom opening the door and giving me this look like I wasn’t a human, now it could very well have been that she was just having a bad day or that a friend just died or who knows but to me it was the drop that tipped t he bucket and I went back to my car and, that’s right, I cried.
I was so frustrated I couldn’t stand it any more and I just wanted to go home and sit at my pool and enjoy my summer! So I did something that’s not very advisable and I called my mother because I knew she would be home. I puked my frustrations to her and told her I wanted to come home and she told me the last thing I thought she would ever say she said “your father and I are so proud of you for even wanting to do something this challenging and if you want to come home we can talk about it tonight but just do me a favor and finish the day” I said fine and I did. That day wasn’t great I think I had a few sales but at the end of the day I told my parents I was alright and I didn’t want to come home yet. From then on slowly things got a little better, and better, and better. Mind you it didn’t get easier but I got better and I developed and grew. At the end of the summer my roommates and I decided to stop in LA to hangout at the beach before we headed to Nashville to get our checks. That drive down the beach to LA was one of the best drives I have ever been on. I had lasted all summer and I did well and made over 8,000, but the real prize was that I know knew that I was the type of person who I had thought I was all along and possessed the qualities of working hard, learning something new and succeeding at it, and never giving up. Also I gained the abilities to deal with rejection, motivate myself, and have a positive attitude. Not to mention the deep long lasting friends that I came to know through the summer. The Southwestern internship gave me so much more than money and job experience it gave me the tools and environment to build character and for that I can’t think of a more valuable internship or job for the summer.