What I Learned as a University Student Fundraising Caller

How everyone's least favorite type of call taught me to believe in myself

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Jaymantri/ Pexels
Jaymantri/ Pexels

I couldn’t wait to get a job as I grew up. I asked my parents in high school if I could get a job somewhere, but the answer was always no. When I moved to college, which was a whopping 20 miles away, I knew I had to get a job if I wanted to go out and buy things. So I applied to everything I could think of that the school offered and I got a phone call requesting to come in to interview for a position to be a caller at the University Telefund office.

I remember how hard getting on the phone was before getting the job. I dreaded every time I had to call someone that I didn’t know for information or help. And I also distinctly remember being asked if I felt comfortable on the phone during the interview and I said yes, which was a lie. As far as I could tell, the woman interviewing me could not tell. In my mind, I was sweating buckets when I got the job because I knew I had to be on the phone more often than I’d like.

Yup, I was the person that everyone hated getting a call from. Three nights a week, I called friends, family, and alumni with updates and a request for money to fund the school. I never was successful at getting donations and I mostly got yelled at for having the “audacity” to call after they paid so much money to attend.

Despite my phone anxiety and getting yelled at most nights, I learned just how resilient I am. Every day going into work, was a little scary and I was always worried that I would end up crying after a phone call. Eventually, I got really good at calming myself down and walking into work ready to take on new calls. I even stopped pausing between calls to collect myself.

Just those minor adjustments were huge steps forward for me. After my time at the call center, I was able to walk into other jobs with a lot more confidence. I was always able to calm myself down and remind myself that I am doing exactly what is expected of me, even when people get frustrated. I was able to take any phone calls with confidence and assert myself even in the face of angry parents and students. 

Now, years later, I hop into more projects or meetings without really knowing what to do but with the faith that I can handle anything that gets thrown at me.

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