Here at The Babcock Law Firm, an award-winning Colorado workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm, we’re honored to serve our community by providing high quality, aggressive representation for injured individuals and families in Denver, Boulder, Aurora, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Golden, Thornton, Westminster and throughout the state of Colorado.
Our mission has always been to help fight on behalf of the underdogs — whether that’s an injured worker going up against a large corporation or a car accident victim battling an insurance company. And in some ways, American college students are also underdogs when it comes to paying for their education and bettering their lives.
For this reason, we’re thrilled to offer a $1,000 scholarship to the winner of our recent essay contest. We asked students to submit essays sharing their first job experience. We received many well-crafted and thoughtful essays, which made choosing just one winner a challenge. Ultimately, the winning essay impressed us with its insight, humanity and high quality writing.
Without further ado, we’d like to present the winning essay of our 2019 scholarship contest, submitted by University of Virginia JD law student Roger Dean.
Essay question: Tell us about your first job. What was the best part?
The worst part?
My first job was as a receptionist at my local community center. I was tasked with checking in community members, managing the cash register, and registering members for classes. I worked at least three days a week, typically two weekdays and Sundays. I first received the job as a sophomore in high school, and I kept the job, throughout each school year, until I graduated high school. During my junior year, I was promoted to fitness attendant, which meant that I was the receptionist located inside the gym facility. I still possess membership to the facility today and often run into former employees and supervisors.
The best thing I learned was about how small parts of human interactions make a big difference. I made sure to smile and greet every person that entered the facility, and the feedback I received was excellent because of these greetings. I would simply smile and give a short remark such as “enjoy your workout” and because not all other employees did that, the customers felt that they received personal treatment. These personalized gestures only took a few seconds for me, but it really made me stand out as an employee. From this experience, I try my best to incorporate thoughtful and kind gestures in my places of employment.
For example, the smallest details on an email can create better working relationships. Asking about someone’s weekend or about an event the person attended can be a great way to be polite and friendly in emails. In today’s world, there are many places where a client can go to get their needs fulfilled, but clients ultimately choose human interaction. The best way to create a great interaction is by showing that you care through small details.
The worst part about my first job was witnessing a decrease in the number of patrons at the community center due to an increase in memberships at private gyms. I found the community centers to be a unique congregation of all demographics in the community. There were seniors, teenagers, and middle-aged adults who used the facilities for their own purposes. This often led to friendships that would otherwise not occur because there would be no place to meet these other demographics.
The private gyms that took patrons away from the community centers were often specialized, in services such as yoga or cycling. I noticed that the opportunity for others to connect in the community decreased when patrons decided to sign up for private gym facilities. Although an unfortunate experience for myself, I realize that the experience taught me about the nature of business. There are business opportunities in creating a premium service to niche communities.
Overall, I view my first job as an opportunity to understand what is not demanded in school. Client services, the importance of being proactive, and representing the brand of your place of employment. I still recall and apply the interpersonal skills I learned from my first job, and I do cherish the experience.
About the winnerRoger Dean is a second year law student at the University of Virginia School of Law. Before law school, Roger served as Director of Research at Economic Growth and Transformation, where he specialized in research survey design, quantitative analysis, and cost projections. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank, working on projects related to Sierra Leone and Guinea. He received a B.A. in Economics and Psychology from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. He is originally from Northern Virginia.
Congratulations Roger, and we wish you the best in your studies. Keep up the great work!
Stay tuned for a follow-up blog post where we feature the best highlights from a selection of the many other great responses we received as part of our 2019 essay contest. Thank you to all who applied and keep up the good work!
Also, be sure to visit our Scholarship page soon for our next essay contest.