My name is Miguel Joaquin. I am a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Medical Technology; medical school is next. This is my Southwestern Advantage story:
I remember my girlfriend telling me about a possible internship opportunity she had heard about and was interested in doing. She did not know much about it and went to an informational meeting. I had never heard of the company but knew that she was very smart, having a 3.9 in the Honors College, so I had a feeling that whatever she was going to investigate was surely only something that would be worth her time. The day of her informational meeting she came back and told me it was a sales position and something that she would never do in a million years. The idea of going door to door was a practice she would never entertain. I didn’t think much of it and we went on with our lives.
Ironically, two days after, I bumped into an old friend from High School, Matthew Lomas. We played soccer for a couple of years and had a cordial friendship, but I had not heard from him in a while, occasionally bumping into him on campus. He seemed like he was in a hurry and told me on the spot that he had a friend he wanted me to meet. I didn’t know where I was going but being a premedical student and a resident advisor, spare time is not an ever-present luxury. I did not really want to meet with some random guy that a High School buddy wanted me to talk to on the spot. He said it would only take “five minutes”, and I am not one to say no to requests so I grudgingly obliged.
Little did I know that the man I was meeting would be the main reason for me leaving my family and friends for three months that summer, and also why I would achieve an enormous amount of personal growth. Initially, I did not want to hear what he wanted to say because I realized this was the same internship my girlfriend had told me she would never do. I politely answered his questions, all the while knowing in the back of my mind that it was a waste of time. After spending more time with Aaron Schafer and meeting with him, I started to realize that Southwestern Advantage was a great opportunity. I had always done well in school without much effort but was on a decline. I had gone from a 3.8GPA to a 3.5 and I knew I had to do something to change my habits. I saw that Southwestern Advantage would give me the opportunity to do something I felt I had not really done up to that point in my life, which was to consistently work hard. I needed it to be a catalyst for encouraging me to consistently work hard so I could achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a physician. Not only would it give me the challenge I was looking for, it would help me stand out in my medical school application. I needed this because although my GPA was within the acceptable range, it was not the best it could be and medical schools are becoming more and more competitive each year.
I did have some doubts heading into the summer before leaving for sales school in Nashville. I really did not want to leave my girlfriend behind. We were incredibly close and leaving for the entire summer was not the ideal situation for a relationship. I also was not too sure about my ’89 Toyota Camry with close to 200,000 miles on it. I had a few doubts but my want to succeed and to fail and to be tested while overcoming adversity was greater than any doubts that may have crept into my mind. I knew this internship would work if I just put in the proper attitude and effort – and that is what happened.
I had an average start, a very challenging middle, and a comparably great finish to my summer. I worked the way I was coached from day one and I made the money they said I would if I did just that, but Southwestern Advantage was not about the money I had made. It was about being able to develop a healthy attitude toward failure and rejection. The best thing about the summer was the rejection you face every single day. One of the hardest things in life is to continue persevering through rejection after rejection. It is a tough thing to maintain a positive attitude and believe that what you are doing will work out for the best. To be able to not allow the amount of rejection you face during the summer shake your confidence, but instead to build it, is to be able to handle anything life throws your way. Persisting through the rejection and finding the acceptance is what counts. The people who succeed most in life are those willing to endure the most.
“People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.” – Lao Tzu
Follow your summer out to the end. If you work hard, you will succeed.
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