Context: I’m currently going through personal files, and have found several old pieces of writing from my college days. One that particularly struck me was this ‘About Me’ speech that I wrote as a pledge of Alpha Kappa Psi in February 2012. It’s interesting to see that just about nothing has changed! Enjoy!
I am a first-year student at the University of Virginia, hailing from the great town of Vienna, Virginia. If I were to describe myself in only two words, they would be personable and driven. Both of these traits are things that I regularly receive comments on, and both have helped me in my time and studies here, as well as my past experiences.
My people skills have really opened up a world of opportunities for me, and I consider them to be one of the greatest factors in my successes. I have worked as a retail sales associate at American Eagle Outfitters for over a year, and in this time I have been named employee of the month and top cashier. My favorite part of the job is the fact that I get the chance to interact with hundreds of different people every day. If I stood in a corner of the store folding jeans, the store would look nice, but nothing would sell! It is crucial to my job that I talk to everyone and find out exactly what they want and how to deliver that to them and make their day. For example, I once helped a woman from Turkey find clothing to send back to her daughters. She took out pictures, told me all about the Turkish culture and customs, and even extended an invitation to stay with her should I ever be in the area. My outgoing attitude allows me to perform at a high level, and it is also integral to networking. In this day and age where jobs are obtained first by knowing people and second by accomplishments, being able to establish and call on a strong social and professional network is crucial. Therefore, I am sure to go out of my way to meet as many people as possible, which would not be possible, were I not as outgoing as I am.
To continue to strengthen my communication skills, I set a goal to talk to at least one new person a day, which is not too difficult at our school of over 13,000. One thing that I constantly remark as I speak to other students here is that many of them have no idea what they want to do in the future. This is something that is hard for me to fully understand, as I have known for quite some time what I want to pursue in the future. I am extremely driven, which I consider to be one of my greatest strengths. When I was young, my father—an accountant—would give me a sheet of math problems to do every night after dinner. “No math, no dessert,” he would say, and so I—an ice cream devotee—would gladly obey his request. Fast forward a decade and here I am, studying economics and math, with dreams of going into consulting and eventually building enough knowledge and capital to start a business in corporate wellness. Having this goal focuses my efforts, and I can thus see everything I do as a small step on the long road to success. I have been able to use this to my advantage by planning classes that will help my goal and writing several business plans for “dream companies,” to improve the relevant skills.
My experiences, in and out of school, have led me to where I am today—a motivated student, ready to take on new challenges and open to meet new people. Hopefully, I can take this opportunity to continue to build these skills as well as develop new ones.