Erica Ohrazda – University of Washington
If I were to speak of my Southwestern Advantage internship experience in short, I would say that there are few other things that I’ve done and will do in my life, that has changed my life as much as my experience with Southwestern. There are many things that I am grateful for in life; one of them is spending my university summers working with Southwestern. I remember the whole process very clearly.
I just got off work late yet again, racing to get my architecture supplies out of my car in order to pull another all nighter to be able to finish my drawing project. When I first heard about Southwestern I was a full time student and working nearly full time, and many days it was difficult to balance it all at once. I was very excited to get the phone call I even wrote the details of the meeting on the back of my project board.
I believe and trusted my student manager that she had my best interest at heart. I was obviously nervous to be so far from family and friends, however the prospect of not having to work during the school year was too great. I had to take the leap of faith and prove to others and myself that I was as hardworking as I always said I was, by putting all my earnings for my summer based on my hard work. Plus I was tired of sleeping many nights only 3-4 hours due to the schedule I needed to maintain to pay my way through school.
I really had to dig into my schedule for University to stay afloat and I hadn’t made many friends over the years after high school, I was a junior when I first did southwestern. One of the biggest reasons that I signed up to do this intense crazy job was the friendships that I could gain. Amaris was my manager and I got to be close friends fast and I wanted other high quality people like her in my life. Amaris promised that I would form some of my closest friends in life through this program, friends that would last a lifetime. I took her seriously and I am so glad that I trusted her, my closest friends in the whole world have participated in Southwestern and many of us still do.
To say that this program has changed my life is something I can say without hesitation. It’s scary to think that if it hadn’t been for that 4×5 piece of paper I wouldn’t be blessed with the wonderful career that I’ve built, the experiences that I’ve had, and all the ambitious, kind, fun people in my life.
Everyday I thank God, and I laugh at how simple it was for my life to change course for the amazingly better so quickly. Southwestern has taught me so many things about business and finances that in my youth has proven so helpful. But more important Southwestern taught me a lot about life and how to really live it fully. I many times I see people constantly negative and unhappy with life, not realizing they are extremely blessed. I feel that I have earned the tools that I need in life from Southwestern to be able to live a happy life, and overcome the obstacles that will present themselves down the road. Anyone who is thinking about participating in the Southwestern Advantage internship program, I would absolutely say that its one of the best ways to spend your summer and I look forward to reading your testimonial one day as well.