Chanel Sedberry – Biola University
Book sellin’ is in my blood. That’s a weird statement, I know, but I’ve heard book selling stories since before I can remember. My mother sold books for 7 summers with Southwestern back in the early 80’s and it was an experience that she has carried throughout her life. Somehow, my whole life, she was able to relate all of her experiences back to the skills and habits that she learned out on the bookfield. When I was growing up, Southwestern Advantage was just a name and a story that made me roll my eyes every time it came up in my household. Little did I know, I would soon become crazy bookgirl following in my mother’s footsteps.
Coming to college, I had made it my goal to work somewhere different every summer. So the summer following my freshman year, I worked at a church camp up in Michigan. It was an awesome experience and spiritually rewarding, but after working 100+ hour weeks, I came back to school with a check for $1,500. For my private Christian university, that equaled less than 4% of what I was paying in tuition. Although that summer was amazing, I made a decision that proceeding fall that I needed to look for something a little more realistic for my future goals. I wanted to travel, build my resume and make some money to support myself. That’s when I decided to actually look into the Southwestern Advantage internship.
I can clearly remember the phone conversation I had when I told my mom that I was interviewing to sell books. She basically told me she didn’t think it was a good idea and that it was too hard. She of all people was telling me that she felt like it might be a bad decision! OBVIOUSLY, I thought that was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard since she had talked about it every 5 seconds of my childhood. So I rolled my eyes at her once again and told her that it was my final decision. I figured, how hard can selling a book be? She then became my biggest supporter and told me no matter what happened, I wasn’t allowed to quit. She told me it was going to be the hardest thing I would do yet in life, but that the experience was going to be worth more than anything else I could ever do during my college career. Boy was she right!
It’s hard to explain how much my first summer meant to me. I’m so grateful that my mom raised me to never be quitter because she was right, it was so hard! In my short summer of 8 weeks on the bookfield, I’m pretty sure I hit every single emotion that is humanly possible but in the end, I walked away with poise, confidence, and an experience that I will NEVER forget (not to mention a trip to Jamaica and little over $10,000 in the bank…). My Southwestern Advantage experience changed the trajectory of my life. I learned so many life lessons that have affected me in random intangible ways that I will carry until the day that I die. It has completely set me apart from my peers mentally, emotionally, and professionally. I know now that I can achieve anything I want in this life, it’s just a matter of action, belief, and faith.