In fewer than 10 days, I will departing for my senior year at Smith. It is quite interesting when I think back on a few years ago, when I was arriving to campus for the first time and setting up my room with the help of my parents. This time, however, I will be arriving early for House President Training and Student Ambassador Training. I have to admit, I have missed Smith dearly, and while I am not usually excited for summer to end, I am excited to go back. Summer 2017 was great in terms of personal developments, and I loved the work I did. But, like every good thing, summer has to end and it will soon. So, like every summer, here is a reflection and recap on what I have been up to.
My summer started in late May, as I came back from my Junior Year Abroad. After a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation, aka getting used to the Central Standard Time and getting over my terrible jet lag, I started my job as an Intern with Students With Ambition Go (SWAG) To College. I have been part of the SWAG To College team almost since the organization started, whether it was as a mentor, blogger, or Director of Blog. However, as an Intern, I was pushed further than what I initially thought I could do.
Even though my work was part time, I found myself accomplishing much more than I have done in previous summers. My skills were utilized in every responsibility I had, even the skills I did not think I possessed seemed to be there. Honestly, it felt as if my supervisors, Raj Salhotra and Jamal Dawson, knew my skills better than I knew them myself.
I have always been an introvert when it came to speaking to people. Throughout the years, I was able to break out of that shell when it came to speaking to people in person. However, when it had to be over the phone, I used to need a whole script planned out and actually practice beforehand. During my internship, I made more than five calls per day during a few weeks, many times the calls were one after the other, so I did not really have the time to rehearse what I would say, or a way to figure out what the other person would ask me. I quickly became accustomed to talking to others over the phone. It may not sound like five calls per day are a lot, but when your voice used to tremble because someone else was on the line with you, it was a huge personal accomplishment, especially considering I had to make people interested in partnering with the organization.
Another piece of news is that I became the official English and Spanish Journalist for SWAG To College. As someone who did not know any English until fourth grade, and whose writing all throughout K-12 was no where near the best, this was an amazing and quite unbelievable opportunity. So far, I have written a few pieces, both in English and Spanish, about SWAG To College News and have interviewed different people, like a recent Harvard Law Grad — who told me my questions were tough, and it was one of the best feelings in the world — and the President of a local Rotary Club. I was also able to restructure the SWAG To College Blog, making it more efficient and having a clearer schedule and commitment to those we serve.
Last, but certainly not least, I did something I never thought I would do as an Intern: I made a proposition and negotiation. By the end of my summer internship, my task was to bring an idea to my former high school principal, Dr. Bertie Simmons, about a possible partnership with SWAG To College. I love Dr. Simmons, but I had never made a proposition of this type and magnitude. Sure, I have previously created clubs in school and have created student boards, but this proposition would be an official agreement between two different parties, and I would be responsible to hold my end of the deal throughout the entire year, and possibly more than that. I am so happy to announce that Furr High School and SWAG To College did partner and we will help 20-30 sophomores receive mentorship from current college students. As a graduate from Furr, I am more than happy to be able to bring these two organizations together!
In short, during Summer 2017, I learned more about myself and my abilities. If it were not for my internship at SWAG To College this summer, I would not have gotten over my slight fear of phone calls in less than a week, nor would I have been able to restructure an organization’s entire blog system. I would also not have had the full support from a boss/supervisor to make a negotiation and partnership all on my own and for the first time. I had worked independently in previous jobs before, but SWAG To College took me to a different level of independence and reassurance of my own abilities. I truly learned how to trust myself and trust my gut, but to ask for help when I needed advice or had a question.
Summer may be over, but my work with SWAG To College is not.