During the school year, I am a student administrative assistant for the front desk at the UConn Center for Career Development. Now I know what you’re thinking, it doesn’t get much more glamorous than that. As summer approached, I wanted to fill my months off with opportunity and experience. Little did I know this could be found right under my nose. Yes, my summer would be spent in the same desk that I work at during the school year. I expected to be doing my normal tasks; answering phones, scheduling appointments, and greeting Center for Career Development visitors were all on my summer horizon. What I didn’t expect was to find a new position awaiting me. One that would challenge me, teach me, and expose me to the “A word” (Adulting). Slowly, my student-interaction-heavy position transitioned into a new world of computers, Excel, and even marketing. So how did this happen? How did I keep my same job and end up with a whole new set of skills?
I said yes. This summer, I was approached by many staff members who all needed help with a variety of projects. Every time I was asked for my help, I said yes. This exposed me to different areas of the Center for Career Development that I didn’t even know existed. From programming, to marketing, and everything in between, if I had the time (or not), I took the project on.
I learned new hard skills. A lot of projects I worked on this summer were not in the realm I usually work in. Most of my work experience has allowed me to hone my soft skills like customer service, interpersonal communication, and time management. These are all great skills to have, but by accepting new projects I was able to use those skills to improve my proficiency in Excel, LinkedIn, and computer literacy as well as learning completely new things like Hootsuite and JIRA.
I saw potential. In every task I was presented with, I tried to identify what could be learned from it. In research tasks I saw the potential for brushing up on my computer and research skills. In marketing projects I saw an opportunity to flex my right brain and be creative from my desk. In administrative tasks I saw a chance to put my organization skills to the test. By looking for potential in everything I did, I ended up finding the potential in an unexpected place: myself.
As my summer at the Center for Career Development comes to a close, I am thankful for all opportunities I’ve been allowed. I am humbled by the staff members who put their work in my hands and their trust in me. Most of all, I have gained confidence in myself and my abilities to Adult (yes, that’s a verb now).