Matt Lomas – Michigan State University
In my first summer in the Southwestern Advantage internship, my first 3 days were all definitely the hardest for me. Day 1 I arrived at my sales locality fresh from sales school and instead of selling like I originally had planned, I instead job shadowed my organizational leader because of car trouble. I also love my car like nobody should love such a material object, so having issues the first day was not a great start! Day 2 my entire A/C unit goes out. Such began my summer of no A/C in Maryland’s humid heat. I drove around for the rest of day 2 pulling into random driveways as aimlessly as a first year could be and ended with a zero day.
Not to be deterred (although I had lost a bit of confidence and even resorted to asking houses to allow me to practice my sales talk on them, whom all politely refused), I started Day 3 and it wasn’t until around 1 or 2 in the afternoon where I met such an unbelievable cool mom who practically walked me through filling out the order form and the rest of the happiness from that sale carried me on to believe that “yes, I can do this, it is possible,” etc. Up to that point it was hard to believe it was possible for me, but continually knocking on doors and being committed to finishing what I started made all the difference.
The hardest part of my Southwestern summer was when I was not doing the job with shortcuts. As long as a first year believes that the job becomes easier when it’s done by the book, I feel they will be much more likely to not only be successful but stay on track mentally the whole summer. Allowing myself to become “mentally out of it” and trying to figure out a way to have more success with less hard work was definitely the hardest part for me because it perpetuated into becoming a major deterrent and obstacle for the remainder of the summer. Conversely I found that being on a great schedule and not making excuses solved any single problem. Big or small.
One of the best things about my Southwestern internship was that it showed me a lot about me; lots of things about myself I wanted to improve. It also showed me that when I am committed to something I will finish it. This carries into everything in life. The best thing I feel that SW has allowed me to do is provide me a means to an end in becoming the person I will one day be.
Traveling and seeing different parts of the country was also a huge bonus to me when I heard about this. It all came true in exactly the way I envisioned, especially when I had the opportunity to see different people, how they worked, who I might want to be more like, who I might want to be less like, etc. The idea of going to D.C. as I first envisioned in a corporate setting and visiting the city as a tourist was in no way comparable to how much I enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds in the suburbs surrounding it. I can still remember my customers, connecting with them on a personal level and becoming involved with something bigger than myself.
The last are in which I massively improved was controlling my emotions. I didn’t think of this going into my first summer, especially since I preferred to think of myself as “not having emotions”. I was someone who never got up before 10 and hadn’t really had any adversity to deal with in life, but Southwestern Advantage allowed me to grow in all of those respects. Controlling emotions when faced with adversity is such an important skill to develop in order to maintain a level head in all kinds of situations. Doing something especially when you don’t want to because you know it’s the right thing to do, is a great skill for later in “real life”.