Admissions Representative, NashvilleSandy
“I sort of had a different background growing up. While my mom was pregnant with me, we traveled all around the states, and then I was finally born in Oregon. I spent a good portion of my life in shelters, churches and people’s homes. I honestly can’t remember a Christmas or holiday that wasn’t provided by somebody else. I think that’s where I get my desire to give back because I don’t think that I would have survived my childhood without other people helping my family.
I worked a lot of dead end jobs. A lot of food industry jobs. I found a job here, was hired and everything was great. I was here for six and a half years, left for a year and a half, and it just kept pulling me back in, and I just couldn’t not be here. I just wanted to get a different view and see what else was out there. That was eight years ago. I actually still have the voicemail saved from when she called to hire me. I’ve just really grown here. I started out at the front desk and then moved into a lot of different departments. I’ve worked in the business office, I’ve worked on the education team, and now I am here in Admissions helping to grow the school and get students in to change their lives.
I am a hybrid of an admissions representative, mainly working with students who have left school, who we want to come back and finish their journey here. I really like that piece because that ties into my feelings of finishing what you started. I help with our academic calculations and advising our students on how to better their GPA here and get to that graduation point. I also help plan events, and we work with the student ambassadors to help plan activities every month. We have graduations once a year, which I’m working on. I feel like I have my hand pretty much in every pot here, somehow and someway. I consider myself like that pinch-hitter, like, ‘Wherever you need me. Put me in coach!’
“I think that’s where I get my desire to give back because I don’t think that I would have survived my childhood without other people helping my family.”
I love this place. I love the students. I like the feeling of seeing the student come in who doesn't have confidence or doesn’t have that moral support that a lot of people do have and being that person who helps them achieve goals. One of the things I love working in education is when we have a student who comes in and they’re not making the best grades and helping them figure out the best plan to, you know, get their GPA back up to a good level. And watching them make these milestone moments in academics and becoming proud and confident in themselves knowing that they can do this. Those are the ones that mean a bit more. Just to be able to relate and understand where they’re coming from, it helps me to help them.
Looking in, students might think I have a nice job or benefits and all these things. They see me and they don’t see the story behind me, so it’s my job to educate them and remind them that there are people who were in their situation and who have gotten out.
I think we take it hard when when they don’t come out with the outcomes that we want for them, or that they want for themselves, because we invest so much of ourselves into those students. I deal with it by knowing that I gave my best for that student, and that’s all that we can do for every student — I can give my all and not vary from that for one student to the next. As long as I can do that, I can go home and feel good at the end of the day.
“I go home and I think about my students and try to think of the best ways to help them.”
Of course, we have students who come in and have no problems and have a wonderful time, and it’s great, and we’re happy for them, too. But I definitely get a lot of my joy from those dark moments that then turn good. Having a job like this gives me a sense of ownership versus the other jobs. Here, I go home and I think about my students and try to think of the best ways to help them or my staff and co-workers. I just feel like every one of us in this building is a part of our students’ success and journey, and that’s a really important feeling.
There’s a synergy that goes on here. We’re a family. We will always have their backs. As long as the student is communicating with us and letting us know as things come up. We are happy to help and get them through that, whatever is going on. The difference here is the heart.
We are students first here. Every decision we make is based off of, ‘Is this right for the student or not?’ At the end of the day, if we’re doing that, we’re going to be successful, and the student is going to be successful.
There’s a funny quote from the show The Office. Everyone is trying to go home early one day and Kathy Bates’ character was like, ‘That’s fine, if you can hang your name on this day, go home,’ and I always kind of thought about that. You know? If I can hang my name on this day, then I am happy. I did a good job.”