At College for Social Innovation, we know that our first jobs and internships shaped our futures and cultivated our passion for social sector work. These experiences are the reason we are here today! The beginning of summer marks the start of similar experiences for college students everywhere—experiences that will open doors of opportunity and launch inspiring careers. In this blog series, our staff will tell the stories of their own first internships, sharing advice, memories, and appreciation for their earliest professional experiences.
Meet Devon Cruz, our Manager for Student Recruitment! Devon is a Hampshire alum and in her role at CFSI she works with our college partners to spread the word about Semester in the City and support students as they apply, enroll, and match into their internships.
What made you interested in this type of work (your current job)?
I’ve always enjoyed working with high school and college students because they often have a sense of possibility that really energizes me. I became particularly interested in CFSI because we help to provide things I didn’t have immediately available to me upon graduating from college, including a network and an opportunity for career exploration. I stumbled into my first job, and I feel very lucky that it turned out to be something I love, but I know I would have benefitted from the clarified sense of direction and support our students have when they graduate from Semester in the City.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students in their first internship?
Don’t take on more than you can manage, but also don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility! Let your supervisor know when you’re particularly enjoying a task, and find out if you can do it more often, or if there are professional development opportunities related to that piece of your job. The worst your manager can say is no; more likely, though, they’ll be impressed by your initiative, and you’ll have a chance to figure out what sort of work you like and gain valuable skills and insight along the way.
What was your first job experience like?
I had a few service industry jobs prior to graduating from college (ask me about my summers spent slicing salami in grocery store delis), but my first full-time position was in the Hampshire College Admissions Office. When I took the job, it was just supposed to be a summer position; I spent the summer giving information sessions and doing five to seven college interviews every day. I loved listening to our applicants’ stories, but it can absolutely be fatiguing to engage with that many people so eager to convince you they’re the right fit for your school. As a way to recharge, I spent a lot of time alone reading books when I wasn’t at work.
Eventually, I was hired as Assistant Director of Admissions, and launched into my first “travel season” where I spent three months on the road promoting Hampshire. Traveling across the country each fall and spring was my favorite part of the position—it allowed me to see parts of the U.S. I’d never seen before and is the reason I’ve been to 49 of 50 states, all without having to pay for the experience!. Traveling alone gave me confidence and a knowledge I can navigate almost any situation on my own— which eventually allowed me (and my five-year-old!) to move across Massachusetts on three weeks notice to join the CFSI team.