By Raheem Logan
When I traveled to the U.S SQUASH office to introduce myself in person before the start of my internship, all eyes gazed on me as they tend to do with an unfamiliar face. I did not see any smiles, so I was a bit intimidated by that introduction. I am happy to say that my summer was the complete opposite of that first encounter.
My internship at U.S SQUASH helped me grow as a professional and showed me how to work in a fast-paced environment. Although it was summer, which is considered a “slow period” for the organization, the phones were buzzing each day in preparation for another season. Some of the projects I worked on included writing a wrap-up for the 2011- 2012 doubles season, sending out approximately 1,500 letters to U.S SQUASH members (not sure this is a project, but it was a grueling process), and gathering player bios of this year’s participants in the 2012 U.S Open Squash Championships. My main task was facilitating the 2012 Scholar-Athlete Award. In total, there was a record 269 applicants for the award, and I was responsible for keeping track of their transcripts and making sure they met the specific requirements to be selected for the award. This being my primary project, it gave me the experience of running my own classroom presentation, but on a larger scale. I had to be quick and organized to answer any questions parents had regarding their son or daughter’s status for this honor. Sending the email letting the applicants know if they were chosen gave me a great sense of pride because I was able to see first-hand the results of all the work I put in this summer.
This internship allowed me to become more proficient with Microsoft Excel while learning some new things about how to manipulate spreadsheets. More importantly, I learned to sound and speak in a more professional manner over the phone (making 300 calls to squash clubs will do that to you). It was rarely something I had to go through because I was a better speaker in person. However, after you say “cool” ten times to complete strangers or speak so fast that receptionists think you are trying to sell them something; someone has to tell you to relax and just be yourself. Now I have a sense a confidence whenever I make a call or have to answer one, something I was terrified of in June.
This experience ended just as quickly as it started and, in retrospect, I would do it all again. I would like to thank all the staff members for their hospitality (Dan, Preston, Kevin, Kristi, Christine, Will, Conor) over the course of this summer. A special acknowledgement goes out to my supervisor, Bill Buckingham (who’s drop shot nicks are a sight to behold). Sitting right next to him every day with his sense of humor allowed me to become more comfortable as the summer progressed (not to mention, he did hire me).
My summer at U.S SQUASH will never be forgotten as I take the skills learned here with me to Wesleyan University for the start of my college career.