Honestly, I didn’t want to get a job freshman year of college. Freshmen year made me strugs to func (shout out to anyone who gets that Queer Eye reference). It became a rough year. I hadn’t adjusted to the fast pace of the quarter system well, my roommate drama flew through the roof and I already had an existential crises about picking a career path. Cramming a job in between all of the stress did not even become something I thought about.
However, I eventually did fit a job into my packed schedule, without realizing I’d become the youngest person at my first job.
I have luck in this area, and I acknowledge that- I didn’t need to get a job right away. But, my parents became adamant that I get one to save up money and build my resume. I knew they had a point, so I started to apply for jobs.
I made sure to wait two quarters before actually applying. I applied to a few here and there, but never heard back. Finally, at the end of the year I received an email advertising a student intern position at the Veteran Resource Office.
The job description followed the lines of general office tasks and assisting in event planning. I thought, “Well my dad’s a Vet, I grew up in a military family. Why not?” Plus, the word “intern” caught my eye since I knew an internship look great on, making my mom happy. So, on a whim, I sent in whatever crappy high school resume I had and waited to hear back.
I didn’t have to wait long before I got a response. They wanted to interview me. I felt so excited but nervous. I had only ever experienced one other interview for a part-time retail position while in high school. Honestly, I don’t remember much of the interview; I think I repressed most of it out of nervousness. I must’ve done better than I thought because a few weeks later I got an email.
When I saw it pop up in my inbox, I couldn’t believe that it read, “We’re excited to offer you the position!” After not hearing back for a while, I had just assumed the worst, so this came as a pleasant surprise to say the least. I felt excited to begin this new position.
My excitement quickly faded when I went to training. Of course I felt nervous since I didn’t know anyone, but I didn’t really take the time to think how my coworkers would turn out. I had just assumed they’d turn out like me, with similar ages and a familial connection to the military.have the same age as me.
It didn’t occur to me I might work with actual veterans. On my first day, I already learned not to assume that everyone would turn out just like me. I had come from a very small town, so I figured most everyone else had the same experience of going straight to college out of high school like I did. I quickly learned I had a pretty narrow-minded outlook, and that many non-traditional students, typically over the age of 25, exist.
As a hermit and socially-awkward butterfly, I definitely felt intimidated by my new co-workers (if they see this, they will make fun of me forever). As one of the only girls and one of the youngest employees, I felt out of place. Everyone already knew the girl in the office, who already completed three years of school and participates in the ROTC program. I also felt out of the loop, not just as a young sophomore in college, but because these guys had actual jobs before deciding to go back to school. It caused an uproar when I told them my birth year. I never heard the end of, “I graduated high school that year!”
To this day, it amazes me that I didn’t work at all freshmen year now that I think about it. It doesn’t seem real since I’ve spent the rest of my college years practically living at my office. I honestly don’t know what I would have done with myself had I not gotten this job. I definitely wouldn’t have made so many friendships and connections, nor would I have learned so much about myself. I couldn’t feel any happier that I applied on a whim because it became one of the best things about my college experience.