I’ve been with uConnect for over a year now. Watching the company change has been illuminating and exciting, and having my own responsibilities evolve has been an extraordinary opportunity.
I started working with David Kozhuk, uConnect CEO, in the summer after my freshman year of college, 2 or 3 days a week. My role on paper was “marketing and communications intern”, but I was able to assist with several projects outside of that description as well. Indeed, I found that there is always something to be done in a young company - Lesson #1 - which is why it is a great place to gain experience.
Lesson #2: Staying organized is a must. With so many balls to keep in the air, I quickly realized how important it is to be organized and to keep track of all your to-do’s (a habit I have found to be applicable to other jobs and projects, and on which I still fall short, sometimes).
Lesson #3: Applying yourself, no matter how much time you have, is the path to success. As an Economics major, I am familiar with the concept of opportunity cost - and the most important thing I learned from that first summer was how important it is to apply yourself during the time you have, using every minute to further a goal or complete a task. Which relates to:
Lesson #4: Examples are powerful. Having hard-working, motivated people around you is a gift. I appreciated that there was the unspoken expectation of hard work, largely due to David’s example. He puts in more hours than anybody on the team and is always looking for ways to improve the many processes that go into running the company.
Back to School: I was, thankfully, able to continue my work with uConnect through my sophomore year. David asked me to continue running the company’s social media and to consult on marketing strategy with another colleague. Week-to-week, I was able to test the organizational skills I had gained during the summer. I budgeted time to retreat from the noise of college life and work on uConnect; even from afar, it was exciting to watch the company grow and develop. I got to apply my English major tendencies to each social media post, finding the best, most expressive, most efficient (140 characters or fewer!) combination of words. With guidance, I created uConnect’s online presence and established the voice of the company. And, over time, I became more familiar with that voice, and I was able to take more ownership of it. I am now responsible for the majority of the company’s content on social media - a role to which I would not have risen without the combination of the team’s high expectations and their trust that college students can contribute in many concrete ways.
Year 2: During my second summer at uConnect, I've continued running social media. I have also taken on a couple of writing projects, which has also satisfied my English major sensibilities. Moreover, my involvement with uConnect has continued even with a secondary internship, and supported that internship with the wisdom it has given me about time management, devotion, and organizational structure. I will take my part of the uConnect project overseas this fall as I study abroad in Paris, thanks to the time and locational flexibility that has always been the norm, one of the perks of being a year-round intern.
Even with everything else requiring my focus and a million things going on at once, I have always found working at uConnect fun. We go out to lunch as a team, share funny memes, and keep track of each other’s lives. I have also particularly valued the moments when David has taken the time (especially given that he is so busy) to mentor me on my own academic and career prospects, and to entrust me with more responsibility. I have become a better team member in addition to learning what strategies and approaches to work are best for me. And I can only hope that my continued growth will continue to support the growth of uConnect as well.
Sarah Stone is an French and Economics major at Williams College. She is spending her junior year in Paris in a French-immersion program. Find her words on uConnect’s Twitter (@gouconnect), Facebook (uConnect), and LinkedIn (uConnect, Inc.)