By Lauren Richardson ‘16
When I was a student at Randolph, a phrase I encountered often was “Extraordinary Opportunities.” At the time, I saw it mostly as a marketing line: something that could be printed on admission pamphlets and generate interest in the student experience that Randolph has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely truth to this tagline; as a student I had great opportunities to develop my academic skills and artistic passions that made my transition into college much easier and more enjoyable. Looking back though, I probably took the real meaning behind the phrase for granted. It’s sometimes hard to see the real Randolph difference as a student. Now, as an alum, I could not be more thankful for it.
Like many college students in the past year, I had internship and work opportunities suddenly ripped away as the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled everyone’s plans. I had been looking forward to a job experience in a new city, but it was quickly determined that this would not be happening. After a quiet summer and a rather lonely first year of graduate school, I struggled to determine how to gain valuable experience before graduation.
I was tired of submitting job applications and hearing nothing in response. However, after a particularly frustrating day, an idea came to me. I opened my laptop and, out of the blue, sent an email to Adam Bernick with my resume attached at the end. And I can’t express how glad I am that I took that step and pressed send.
When I sent my resume to Mr. Bernick, I was nearly positive I would receive a reply, even if it contained a polite decline to my request (spoiler alert: it didn’t!). I felt more confident in emailing him than I had for any application because of the connections we already had from when I was a student and involved in the arts. That is the Randolph Difference: lasting connections with people who truly care about my success, even beyond my time as a student. My resulting internship in the Office of Institutional Advancement has been the extraordinary opportunity that is jumpstarting my career in ways I never imagined.
Mr. Bernick, Mrs. McClain, and the whole Advancement staff have been so wonderful to work with. I have never experienced another internship in which my coworkers have been more conscientious or intentional in including me in conversations and projects. They are ensuring I can walk away from this experience (as sad as that will be for me) prepared to take on a full-time position in my field. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in work that matters; not busywork, but real projects that will have a tangible impact on the school. I have completed work that I am truly proud of, and that I’m excited for the rest of the Randolph community to see in the near future. I’ve been able to further hone my existing skills and work on some new ones. My confidence in my abilities has grown exponentially, and I’ve even been able to have some fun along the way! I have truly felt like part of the team, rather than just a temporary outsider.
Basically, Randolph isn’t kidding when they say, “Extraordinary Opportunities,” or talk about the “Randolph Difference.” These ideas, and the people who act upon them, have changed my career (and life) trajectory for the better. Through this internship experience, I have learned so much, made new lasting connections, and finally feel ready and excited to start my career.
Note: Lauren is completing her Master of Arts in Communication Studies at the University of Alabama and will graduate in December 2021.