It is 2013 and people all across America are making lists of resolutions that they hope to keep in order to make their lives better, healthier, and more productive in the new year. A few my resolutions are to be patient and be open to opportunities.
These New Year mottos came to me after I was presented the opportunity to work as Assistant Web Editor in the WSU Web Communications Department.
Last October, my English professor and advisor became aware that the Web Communications Dept. was in need of student workers and, knowing my desire to work in editing and my strength as a writer, he recommended me for the job opening. Ecstatic at this opportunity for real-world experience, I tidied up my resume and prepared for the interview. A few nerve-wracking days later, I was offered the position and accepted it.
Among my many duties as Assistant Web Editor, I edit new webpages being built for the WSU website, make sure published webpages are free of spelling errors and broken hyperlinks, as well as proofreading and publishing all the WSU student blog posts (including this one!).
While my boyfriend, Ryan, was very happy for me when I told him that I got the job, he also became more and more frustrated with his own lack of career-advancing experiences.
He is majoring in psychology and then planning on getting a master’s degree in clinical psychology, but as an undergraduate student there isn’t much he can do to get hands-on, resume-bolstering experience. I tried to reassure him that opportunities were out there, telling him to just be patient as something would come along.
Sure enough, last week he excitedly told me that he would be working on an upcoming psychological study about father-son relationships and aggression. His advisor, who knew Ryan’s interest in becoming involved with research and his responsible, hardworking character, invited Ryan to work with him on this research project.
So for the next few weeks, Ryan will be gaining first-hand experience with data-collecting and statistical analysis while also receiving internship credit hours and networking within the WSU Psychology Department.
For both Ryan and me, these opportunities seemed to come out of nowhere. I was simply working hard in all my classes, saying hello to my professors in the hallways, and just being myself, without any real designs to score an awesome campus job or flashy internship.
Yet my advisor noticed me; he remembered me and our conversations about my goals and interests. Likewise, Ryan’s professor noticed his academic diligence and recalled his desire to become involved in research studies.
I know that all the brochures and pamphlets tout the benefits of WSU’s smaller size and the ability for professors to get to know students individually, I heard it too when I was applying to college and I thought, “Oh, that’s nice—I like that idea,”) but I want to tell you that it is more than a standard feel-good tagline in the brochure.
These professors opened doors for Ryan and me, offered each of us opportunities that we might not have had otherwise as one of the many students who pass through truly enormous state universities like UM-Twin Cities or UW-Madison.
I offer you our stories as living proof that you never know when the perfect opportunity will arise, but at WSU, if you work hard you can be sure that the professors will remember your name when it does.
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