This story is one of my favorites. A prime example of how I leveraged an opportunity to work for me and how stepping out of my comfort zone led to invaluable experiences as a young professional.
During my time as a Peer Advisor back in 2016, I was assigned a group of first-year or transfer students every orientation and assisted them with their transition to the university.
I worked with a lot of great individuals and met so many students with unique personalities. It was a lot of fun. However, when the end of the summer was approaching, I started to become just a tad concerned. My peer advisor experience was slowly coming to an end.. and with it the paycheck.
The world works in mysterious ways.
During the last transfer session in August before the fall semester started, I was assigned maybe a group of 20 students or so. When the time came to go to one of their advising sessions, we made our way on over to the SASC building 2nd floor, where we all took a seat in the waiting lobby. Finally having a little bit of downtime, I sat down in an empty chair next to one my students named Morgan.
I don’t remember even how the conversation started, but if you ask Morgan, she overheard me talking to another student about how we both still needed hours to complete the hospitality program at FIU. Morgan stepped in and mentioned she was a general manager at a restaurant named (wait for it…) SPORTS GRILL. Y’all already know it.
I thought, wow, that was really nice of her to offer me experience. I took her contact information not really sure if I would ever use it.
Well, fast forward to maybe two weeks later, the Sunday before school started, at Freshman Convocation. I remember this day so specifically because when I look back I laugh at myself. I started to heavily worry about not having anything lined up. Like, come on Aziza, really.
And so I sucked up all the courage that I had, scrolled through my contact list to find Morgan’s name. And then I hit call.
I remember freaking out so bad and then feeling relieved when she didn’t pick up. I almost didn’t leave her a voicemail, but before I hung up I did. I couldn’t chicken out. I have no idea what blurted out of my mouth but it probably was a mess. Hoping she would remember me, I asked her to give me a call back about potentially considering the offer she gave me a couple of weeks prior.
I don’t remember when she called me back, but about a week later, I was sitting in Sports Grill at Pembroke Pines waiting to meet with her. She asked me a few questions about myself and what I wanted to get out of working there. By the end, I was signing a contract of employment. By mid-September 2016, I was officially a food runner at Sports Grill.
The next few months flew by. I watched everything Morgan did like a hawk and asked maybe one too many questions. She never seemed to be annoyed. She let me sit with her in the office while she did paperwork, taught me food costing, asked me about school, and most importantly, became my friend. She cared a lot for me.
Taking me under her wing, she showed me the ropes and I climbed them. After a few months, I took on more responsibility by becoming a shift lead. Interning at Make-A-Wish simultaneously, Morgan also gave me the chance to be a part of the Wings for Wishes committee, promoting the event on campus, and coordinating the volunteers the day of the event.
I was hungry for what Morgan knew. I still am. She became my role model and to this day I call her to either ask questions or get an opinion on my professional endeavors. I am so lucky she came into my life. If I never left that voicemail, I’m not really sure where I would’ve ended up.
So this one’s for you, Morgan. Thank you <3