Jenny Ly – Learning to finish strong!

Jenny Ly

Southwestern Advantage

Jenny Ly Southwestern Advantage Internship

Everything I have done up to last summer has been a great effort with an awesome start but I have never been able to follow through with the same effort on anything.  I am sure I am not the only one to have admitted finishing strong isn’t top on my list of achievements.  Two events still sting.  High school – does this need further explaining?   Grades 8-9-ish started out fantastic with reports full of A’s and sprinkled with B’s.  The years that actually counted grades 11 and 12 I had barely survived our school’s clean sweep of students who were scraping the bucket; dumping them into alternatives schools.  Thankful for being a quick learner; with barely an attendance to my classes and no prep for exams I had always managed to pull an average score.  My second sting was the Seniors Girls Killarney Wresting team – random.  For those that don’t know me, they would find it odd I was on a sports team not to mention a darn wrestling team but I was.  My coach, Mr. G always said I had the most potential but I had no confidence in myself (positive thinking was far from my thoughts).  I made it to provincials but lost because I couldn’t take the pressure.  Mr. G had pulled me aside and stated,” You fear losing so much that you rather lose on purpose than to try.”  Those words are still branded into my head.

I chose to make a change.  After two years of graduating from Killarney Secondary I swallowed my fear of BCIT’s intense program.  I applied and got in.  To prep myself for school in the fall I applied to North America’s most intense internship running for 140 years; Southwestern Advantage.  It’s a 3 month program that consisted of me attending sales school in Nashville, relocating to Edmonton to work, and intensely managing 6 days a week for 75 plus hours.  I was taught to run my own business, booking keeping and all.  I had sold educational materials to families door to door; struck with homesickness and admittedly crying almost every day biking to my turf.  During the 4 rounds of intensive interviews I couldn’t understand why they were prepping me on physical and emotional strengths; as I biked to work every morning I had finally understood why.   This internship was my final test after all those years of constantly letting myself down.  This was it.  I needed to complete this from starting to end, strong all the way through.  I gave myself no other option; this was going to be my final test.  If I didn’t past this there wasn’t going to be a chance for me at BCIT or… life in general.  The last few weeks were the hardest strain on my emotions.  I was fighting my best fight to overcome the familiar urge of letting myself slip when things got too hard.  I was holding the status of best first year dealer in Canada, with the chance of being first in all of North America or even worldwide.  Every morning chewing my breakfast was like swallowing down everyone’s expectations of me; one giant gulp at a time.  Excuses would pour into my head as I went from door to door to bail; it was mentally exhausting.  During delivery week I watched excited moms and kids rip open there books and CD’s.  Seeing I was helping provide families with useful and better educational tools for their kids gave me a purpose, it drove me to work harder. I pushed to finish strong for the first time in my life.  It was unnerving – knowing I was giving it my all and accepting the fact I still might…fail.

Summer 2011 was a blur.  When my thoughts drift towards those 3 months all I feel is a ball of mixed emotions, crammed inside my chest ready to burst.  I am so relieved it’s over, and in disbelief I agreed to do it again next summer.  I had done it! I had broken the chains and finished strong, giving the internship my best.  And yes I did end up being the number 1 first year dealer in all of North America, with $28 000 in gross profits – a HUGE sigh of relief.  This was the hardest thing I have ever done and the best I have ever felt.  I overcame my fear of losing – “You don’t know how close you are to success until you try.”


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