You can always do better.
My father taught me this lesson a long time ago. I’d hand him a test with a giant red “A” and a smiley face on it. “Great job! Now, next time, I want to see a plus sign on there. You can always improve yourself, remember that.”
Here I am, almost 10 years later, starting my internship with Bravo Group with those words ringing in my ears. I can’t help but think of how I got to this point.
I was born and raised in Dumont, New Jersey, a small town with a total area of about a mile and a half. I’m the third child out of four – I have an older brother and sister, and a younger sister. I’ve always been close with everyone in my family. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. When I was young I wanted to be just like my older brother, and it wasn’t until high school that I really came into my own. I explored different interests, which included playing the drums, playing lacrosse, and joining WSJR, the school’s morning TV news program. Throughout it all, my family always pushed me to pursue my passions and supported me no matter what. When I made the decision to go to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, we were all ecstatic.
From left: Chris (my brother-in-law), Kaitlin, Me, Maggie and Michael
I soon decided to become an English major, and two years later I picked up a second major in Communications. The two fit together so perfectly that it seemed like the best decision I could make – and it was. It felt so natural to me. I’ve always loved reading and appreciate originality of any kind. Studying these two fields has strengthened both my creativity and my practicality. I can read all the greats in half my classes, and then try my hand at a more journalistic writing style in the other half.
Luckily, my college experience has included more than symbolism in the 20th Century novel, or business to business communication. I help run the marketing team at 1851 Entertainment, a student group that strives to create a thriving music scene around St. Joe’s, as well as play the drums in the jazz band, and host a radio show. Last year, I participated in a volunteer program called the Appalachian Experience, wherein groups of students travel to various towns in the Appalachian Mountain Range for some good old-fashioned community service and bonding. The experience completely transcended my idea of service and afterwards I was lucky enough to be picked as a leader for this year’s trip to Putnam County, Tennessee. At first I was hesitant about leading 25 students in this project. Such a step would bring me far out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t long though, until I thought of my father’s advice, and decided that taking this unique opportunity was exactly what I needed to do.
2014’s APEX group in Deer Lodge, Tennessee
The fact that I will be graduating this May seems surreal to me. Being a student is the only life I’ve ever really known. Everything is changing all around me. Roommates and friends are scrambling for interviews; emails are flooding in for pictures and class rings. I didn’t allow it to sink in until this past Christmas. As my sister was opening her new iPod, I was unfolding khakis.
This is it, I thought, I’m becoming a real adult. It was a great and scary realization. I still have so much to learn. And so here I am, almost 3 feet taller and hopefully a lot smarter than when my father first told me those words. Throughout it all I’ve always tried to live by what he said, and that’s what Bravo Group is offering me: a chance to learn and grow; to keep on improving myself.
– Sean West, Wayne Office Intern