Nancy Davidson – Wake Forest University
My first Southwestern Advantage Summer was hands down the hardest thing I have ever done but also the most rewarding. I heard about the program from my cousin and thought “If he can be successful at a program like this, then I know I can too.” However, I already had a summer job lined up where I would be making around $10 an hour (which to a broke college student is good money). I was finally convinced that I would learn more and earn more by working with Southwestern and agreed to join my cousin and sell books. It was the best decision I ever made. At the end of the summer I had more money and more confidence than I ever had before; I also grew extremely close and developed a newfound respect for my cousin (a relationship that we still share and cherish today). On top of that, after meeting people at the Awards Banquet and on the Sizzler trip my friend group literally DOUBLED. I am proud to say that because of the Southwestern Internship I am close friends with some of the most successful college students in the United States.
For the most part, my summer was one big fun-fest. I have always been a people-person and being shy was never something I was familiar with so the chance to talk to about 3,000 families during the summer was a challenge that I welcomed with excitement. I am an Elementary Education major at Wake Forest University so I have a natural love for children; they ultimately made my summer 100% worthwhile. The excitement and pure joy on the faces of the children when I delivered their books was an experience that brought me to tears a couple of times. It’s very comforting to know that I helped give the everlasting gift of education to thousands of families this past summer.
Speaking of tears, not all of the tears I shed were out of happiness. For me, this program was very emotionally challenging. Being a straight-A student, 3 sport-athlete, salutatorian of my high-school class, I didn’t face much rejection in high school. This program set me up every day for rejection, after rejection, after rejection. I remember my hardest day of the summer was when I had contacted over 50 families in one day and had zero customers. On top of that, my entire family was at the beach on our annual family beach vacation (which I have never missed). That day I had faced more rejection than ever before, and knowing that my family members (the people who loved me the most) were far away made me extremely unhappy. I called my mom and cried my eyes out but through that rejection, I learned how to be persistent, how to motivate myself, and how to stay constantly positive and optimistic no matter what the circumstances.
The benefits of the Southwestern Internship are continually surfacing in my life back on campus. During the summer I was offered 6 different jobs from my customers who knew how well established Southwestern was, in fact, one father shared this story with me: He worked for Merrill Lynch and they had just hired five new young employees (yes, during the economic crisis). Out of those five employees, three had sold books with Southwestern! So, if I ever need a job I know I can always drive to Lexington, Kentucky and have one in a heartbeat. Secondly, I recently took my resume to the Wake Career Services Center and the resume advisor was blown away by what I was able to put on my resume after working with Southwestern. She took me immediately up to the head of the career services department and had me give them more information about this program so they could spread the word to as many Wake students as possible. People in the real-world honestly recognize how awesome of a program Southwestern provides. Ultimately, working with Southwestern was the most challenging thing I have done yet in life, so I now have the confidence to say that I can literally handle anything that comes my way thanks to the skills I learned (and continue to learn) from Southwestern Advantage.