The 2021 University of Washington Sales Program students entered this last summer with the hope of one last year spent in the bustling state of on-campus classes, Husky football games, and most importantly, a return to the world we abruptly left behind in 2020. In a year marked with so many reasons to lose hope, faith, and gratitude, this special group of 162 sales students made the most of every experience and opportunity, determined to make their mark on this program and university.
DO YOU FEEL MORE RESILIENT HAVING GONE THROUGH THIS YEAR? IF SO, HOW?
Yes – life was challenging this past year, but I learned to lean into changing my perspective. Life became fuller when I chose to look at my situations in a new light and through a lens of gratitude.”
Oh absolutely! These past few months alone have been full of challenges, changes, and triumphs. I am thankful, however, for what these events have taught me. I learned that it’s important to take opportunities amidst going through rejection time and time again.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE PROUD OF?
I learned that I am anchored in the connections that I am able to make with people. This past year has allowed me to strengthen and create connections that I have been able to use to create a life that I genuinely enjoy, something I couldn’t say in my early college years.
I learned that I can still play a big role in people’s lives, despite not physically being there with them. The pandemic brought with it a natural disconnect that I hadn’t dealt with before, and I was nervous that the physical distance would degrade the relationships that I’d built over the years. But instead, I worked hard on staying connected with the people who were important to me and continued building those relationships in meaningful ways. I’d never really been a super proactive friend, but this pandemic forced me to come out of my shell a bit more than I had in the past. I didn’t think I had that in me, but I can absolutely say I’m better for it.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU GO ABOUT YOUR LIFE, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY, DURING THE LAST YEAR?
I really tried to find some semblance of balance in my life. I’m typically a pretty driven person, so I spent the vast majority of my time junior year working and recruiting, and I realized pretty quickly that wasn’t a sustainable way to live. As this year has gone on, I’ve been very intentional about spending more time with my family and friends (digitally or in person) to counterbalance my workload. Otherwise, I think I would’ve burned out a long time ago.
This year, I learned that I am very much a planner and that it’s okay to “go with the flow” at times. I learned the importance of slowing down and taking challenges day by day!
I became more assertive in the way I went about my life. I realized that if you want something in life it is up to you to make it happen and to voice your opinions, so I have made that a goal of mine to be assertive in both my personal and professional life.
AFTER YOUR EXPERIENCE THIS LAST YEAR, WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT TO WORK ON TO BETTER THE WORLD?
I want people to make people feel heard, valued, and loved more often. While small, I think this year has exposed the amount of loneliness people can feel, especially when external circumstances are harsh. By voicing value, there is an opportunity to prevent tragedy that is often the result of pain, no matter the scale.”
Making the idea of listening to others ubiquitous.
I want to work on becoming a better activist and ally for marginalized groups. Whether that be educating myself, working hard to close the gaps of inequality, or just being a kinder person towards others, this is something I actively want to get better at.
Whatever experiences, insights, or reasons for gratitude this year brought you, the Class of 2021 can say with confidence they made the most out of this year. They, with certainty will leave a lasting mark on this sales program, school, community, and world. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!