Experiences Part II: Underclassman

As an underclassman, I developed my customer service skills and began building my technical skills. I worked as a nanny, helpdesk technician, and software engineering intern. I learned that I love positions that have a variety of challenges and involve working with people.

This post is part two in a five part series.

University Dining

Location: UW Stout
Dates: February 2013 to May 2013

Second semester of my freshman year, I decided to get a job. I was hired at University Dining worked as a cashier and barista. I loved this job and met so many different people.

At this job, I met one of my best friends. As a cashier, I met the Student Manager of Ask5000 (where I was later hired). I also spoke to the upperclassman who convinced me to join Computer Engineering (I was Applied Math and Computer Science). This job was an amazing opportunity.

What I loved:

  • Energetic environment
  • Serving customers
  • Meeting new people

Skills I Gained:

  • Customer Service: this was the focus of the job


Location: Faribault, Minnesota
Dates: June 2013 to May 2013

After my freshman year of college, I was a nanny for my pastor's family. I made sure the kids did their chores and planned activities. We went to the park, the pool, and many other fun places. We baked together and played sports. This was a fun experience and I loved spending time with the kids.

What I loved:

  • Always something to do
  • Working with kids
  • Leadership and management
  • Every day is different

Skills I Gained:

  • Conflict resolution: settling disagreements between siblings
  • Leadership: encouraging kids to do chores and get along
  • Time Management: setting a routine for chores, lunch, and fun activities
  • Communication: learning what kids mean, not just what they say

Helpdesk Technician

Location: ASK5000 at UW Stout
Dates: August 2013 to September 2014

I LOVED this job! I had customer service experience but IT was completely new. I learned that many people lack confidence when it comes to technology and are afraid that one wrong click will destroy everything. My favorite part of this job not only fixing problems, but helping customers become stronger computer users.

What I loved:

  • Working with customers
  • New technical challenges each day
  • Helping customers build technical skills

Skills I Gained:

  • Troubleshooting: using what I know to solve new challenges
  • Prioritizing: determining which tickets should be addressed first
  • Customer Service: customers want to know you're listening
  • Communication: understanding issues based on non-technical descriptions
  • De-escalation: sometimes customers were very stressed

Software Engineering Intern

Location: OSI, Inc. Medina, Minnesota
Dates: May 2014 to August 2014

Getting an internship as a sophomore was an amazing opportunity. I had attended every career fair, but I expected to get an internship as a junior.  Interning at OSI was my first experience working in an office. I found my project interesting, but I wasn't used to sitting at a desk all day. I often took my laptop and worked in the cafe for a change in scenery. This helped a lot.

What I loved:

  • The project
  • Learning new language (Python)
  • Designing scripts and anticipating challenges
  • Building technical and professional skills

Skills I Gained:

  • Python: I had just been working with Assembly, this was a major change
  • XML Parsing: with Python libraries
  • Proactive Problem Solving: learning to anticipate problems the end-user would face
  • Project Management: setting goals and benchmarks for each phase of the project
  • Software Design: I designed scripts from scratch and considered what requirements were needed
  • Testing: I wrote tests to ensure that the scripts behaved as expected


As an underclassman, I was blessed with some amazing opportunities.  A common theme that I've found with my jobs is that I love variety and being challenged. If each day is different from the last, I can't help but love the job. A high energy position that has me working with new people and new challenges would be a perfect fit.

Read Part III

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