Sophia Olson – A Letter To My Student Leader

Sophia (left) with Sara, her Student Leader

Sophia (left) with Sara, her Student Leader

To my Student Leader, Sara Mercier:

I cannot truly put into words what Southwestern Advantage has done for my life and mindset, but I will do my best you and for others who are also reading this.

I am a business management major attending University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Yes I’ll be finishing my fourth year, and yes this is typically where people graduate and pursue a career in their major. That’s not quite my situation though. Finishing my fourth year, I’ll be running into the fifth year victory lap with no specific career goals in mind. However, that seems to matter less to me now. More importantly, instead of discovering what career I want to be in, I have found the type of person who I want to become.

Before selling books, my life path was what I would call average. I was going through my day to day activities without any realistic goals in mind, mostly because I was afraid of failure. I would doubt my aspirations, I would doubt the possibility of being great, and mostly, I just doubted myself. Regularly I talked with my college friends and with young alumni about life after graduation. It was a bit disheartening to hear how many of them are just graduating to graduate, working just to work. So many of the people I care about do not seem know who they are yet or what makes them happy before taking on the next step of their life. To me, the idea of realistically being in that situation like so many others are is more scary than any irrational fear that I’ve ever conjured up in my past.

Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I like to have a good time; many say I’m goofy, unorganized, and free-spirited (I’m not going to argue against any of these qualities). Beneath my lively character is a woman who cares, who loves and accepts, and who wants to become better with every step of life. I’ve always aspired to help others but was always afraid to take that leap forward out of my comfort zone to accomplish my goals. After stepping out of the comfort of Eau Claire, I moved to Michigan for three months — to an area I had never been to, to do something I had never done. They say that we only grow when we step outside our comfort zone, and I was definitely feeling the growing pains.

SophiaOlsonFBSara, after meeting with so many families, and seeing the impact you make and the impact other Student Leaders make, I know that I truly want to do the same for people. I don’t sell books to sell books. The mindset that this company and this experience brought out in me has changed my life. The passion I have for others has been surfaced, and now I know my future must contain a few things. What job that will be and where I will be ten years from now, I do not know. But what I do know is that I will still be working towards becoming a better version of myself. How? By striving for my goals with the strength to push past my fear of failure; by never judging a person nor a situation, because you never know what the outcome might be; by impacting people in a positive way whether it be with my attitude or service. And last but certainly not least, by allowing my faith to lead me to where I’m meant to be.

Before I sold books my outlook on life was average and stable. I took a frightening leap into uncertainty and discovered that the possibilities in my life are endless. I discovered that what frightened me was never as scary as I had made it out to be. What did I take away from my first summer selling books? I took a new mentality to lead myself into a better way of life. The friends I have met through Southwestern Advantage are now some of the closest people in my life. I would not have had the experience I had without them. I am so grateful to have gone through this experience, and hope to now lead others to change their lives for the better — just like you did with me, Sara. Thank you.

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Southwestern AdvantageSophia Olson – A Letter To My Student Leader

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