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Running Around the World: How My Campus Reach Internship Has Extended My Racing Resume

jhay
New Arrival

Of the three values that make up “Living the Southwest Way,” Fun-LUVing Attitude is the one I connect to the most. I am an Intern in Community Programs & Engagement, which is a wildly diverse and active department. Because of this, I have the opportunity to assist with a variety of projects—sometimes in really sweet places. I love staying involved and on-the-go, so I consider this a huge perk. More importantly though, my position calls me to have a genuine and unwavering sense of fun!

 

As an Intern, I represent Southwest at major events, so big smiles and warm welcomes are a must. Fortunately for me, I am the type of person who can have fun in any circumstance. Give me some stickers and silly string and I am set for hours! This attitude makes my role very enjoyable, and it makes large-scale events thrilling rather than daunting. For example, one project I was able to assist with was managing Southwest Airline’s role as the premiere sponsor of the 2016 SXSW Eco Convention. I helped design a branded wall display for the event, organized volunteers from the Austin-Bergstrom Airport to assist with onsite operations, and—best of all—I was able to travel to Austin on business to oversee a promotional Southwest booth at the convention. All day, I was able to interact with Austin locals and convention-goers, inviting them to tell me interesting stories, challenge me to a dance-off, or partake in other festive shenanigans. My Fun-LUVing Attitude had a wonderful chance to shine, and it made for a fantastic experience.

 

Handing out "surprises and delights" to convention-goers at the 2016 SXSW Eco ConventionHanding out "surprises and delights" to convention-goers at the 2016 SXSW Eco Convention

My Fun-LUVing attitude has carried over into my weekend adventures as well. I love being active, whether it be through running, cycling, swimming, or playing sports. Every weekend, I use my flight privileges to fly somewhere I’ve never been and either run a half-marathon or rent a bike. I firmly believe the best way to truly experience a new place is by bike. From a car, things pass by too quickly, and by foot you can’t possibly cover enough ground to see it all. But by bike, I can see anything, stop anywhere, and appreciate the unfamiliar terrain as I pedal my way across it. I rented a bike in Portland, Oregon, one Saturday, and by the end of the day I had ridden 60 miles and seen every corner of that fun, quirky city.

 

Stopping my ride to snap a photo on the Portland HarborStopping my ride to snap a photo on the Portland Harbor

On the weekend of November 5, I traded in my Fun-LUVing Attitude for another Southwest value—a Warrior Spirit. I had gotten word of two races happening in New Orleans—a sprint triathlon and sprint duathlon—which offered prizes better than any medal. Those who finished in the top of their age group would be offered a spot to compete in the World Championships, the duathlon in Canada, and the triathlon in the Netherlands. With my eyes on the prize, I headed out to New Orleans and competed in both races. The competition was intense, and while the distances were short, the intensity was high. To my shock, I placed second overall in my age group! One crazy weekend, two World Championship slots, and an experience that could be fueled only by a Warrior Spirit!

 

Standing on the second-place podium for both the sprint duathlon and sprint triathlon races in New OrleansStanding on the second-place podium for both the sprint duathlon and sprint triathlon races in New Orleans

As I am preparing for my internship to come to an end, I know that regardless of where I end up, Fun-LUVing attitude and Warrior Spirit are pillars I will continue to lean on.

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