Morgan Franke – Michigan State University
I always knew that after I graduated high school that I would never spend another summer in Canton, Michigan. So when I got the opportunity to work with Southwestern Advantage, I didn’t think twice. Little did I know that what I would experience would change my outlook on everything in my life. The things you expect to get from a Southwestern experience when you hear about it are the usual: a good resume, travel, challenges that will help you grow. But the things I took away from my first summer are things that can’t be described in a 45 minute info session on campus.
My first summer in Charlotte, North Carolina gave me a whole new perspective on people. I sold books in very upper class, non diverse neighborhoods, and sold books in very diverse, middle class neighborhoods. It was a little bit of a culture shock for me to say the least. I grew up sheltered and affluent. My reaction on the phone with Aaron after my first day in Charlotte: “Aaron, I can’t be here. I don’t know how to communicate with people of different races”. I had been so sheltered my whole life and lived such a cookie cutter suburban life, that when faced with a situation where I was around types of people that I wasn’t used to, I didn’t know how to act.
This was the point of the summer when I realized the most important lesson I’ve learned in my life so far: People like people who are real and genuine. I had my best three weeks of my first summer after I realized this. I stopped trying to be the “salesperson” that I thought I was supposed to be, and started being genuine with people. I became known as that “crazy white girl that had cool books”. My approach became, “Have you heard about me yet? …I’m kind of a big deal. People know me ;)” and waiting for them to laugh at me before continuing.
My best day I made $500 and had 9 customers. I was having fun and being myself. It paid off. Not only in the aspect of money, but in the aspect of communicating with people who weren’t like me. It was true – people will like you if you are being yourself, not fake.
This has been such a life changing lesson for me in every aspect. I remember my brother talking about how I “changed” over the summer. Really, I just learned how to be myself around everyone. I learned that when I am not being the person that I think people want me to be, that I am not only 100% more happy, but I am 100% more effective at everything that I do. Still my favorite thing in life is to meet new people and see if I’m able to become friends with them in under 5 min.
The things you learn from the Bookfield.