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IMG_3140“When I applied to be a CDI, I was in the midst of a hectic semester. Beyond a busy class schedule, I was frantically working to line up an internship for the summer and gain leadership experience on campus. Through a friendship with someone who was a CDI at the time, I applied to this internship with little idea of what I was getting myself into. Thanks to a lot of preparation and a bit of luck, I was convincing in the interviews and able to secure a spot.

At the time, I could not comprehend the impact working with the Career Center would have on my life, both professionally and personally. The UGA community has given me so much. I like to think my 2 years as a CDI have allowed me to give back at least a fraction of the support and enjoyment I’ve received from my alma mater.

First and foremost, the ability to work with a sharp and supportive team of my peers has given me a lot of perspective on what to look for in coworkers with a full-time employer. The amount of support I’ve received from the other CDI’s has been incredible, and we mesh so well any work is seamlessly tackled. But I haven’t just gained coworkers. I can also say I’ve built a strong friendship with each and every one of the CDI’s, and look forward to carrying these friendships into the real world with the knowledge they will be successful and dependable professionals. Beyond direct interaction with other CDI’s, the entire working environment created by the wonderful career consultants and Career Center staff is indescribable, so I know I won’t even try to do it justice in writing. It’s definitely something I hope I will experience with future employers.

On a more personal note, I can only hope I’m lucky enough to be a direct report for managers as amazing as Erica and Bethany have been to me. From them, I’ve learned how to effectively manage a team and balance the right amount of guidance and freedom for someone to be successful. Though both different in their management style, they’ve been equally great to work with and inspire me to make them proud. I think it’s almost unfair to my future supervisors that they will be compared to these two.

Beyond my coworkers, interacting with UGA’s diverse student body has been extremely eye-opening. In one working day, I’ve had the opportunity to help a freshman decide what to do for the rest of their life (no big deal), presented to an ECHD class with students from almost every major, and navigated around the language barrier with an international student to hone their statement of purpose for medical school. I really can’t think of another job on campus where this opportunity is available to undergrads and am so thankful I’ve gained these experiences.

Finally, I’ve loved this position for what I’ll call selfish reasons. First and foremost, there’s no denying the positive mental (and financial) effect of receiving a paycheck every 2 weeks. Although I won’t be buying a BMW or Rolex from working 10 hours/week, it has definitely allowed me to enjoy some incredible experiences with friends over Spring Break and takes away the guilt of grabbing a coffee at Starbucks or splurging on groceries at Earth Fare. In addition to the fact that it’s a paid internship, the group Fall and individual Spring projects have allowed me to take ownership of an endeavor and were invaluable talking points during job interviews and networking events.

For so long, I heard it was essential to find work doing “what I love” and thought this was the secret to a successful career. From 2 years as a CDI, I’ve learned the secret is, in fact, to find a job with people who I love working with. It’s with this outlook that I will walk under the Arch in May and enter the real world. Though I may be leaving Athens, I know Clark Howell Hall will forever be on my list to visit anytime I return to the Classic City.”

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