Student Spotlight - McKenzie Alder
Friday, October 26, 2018
In this issue of ACCED-I Connect, we are learning more about ACCED-I Student member McKenzie Alder, Front Desk Assistant/Reservationist from the University of Utah.
How do you hope your ACCED-I student membership will help you advance in your career?
I believe being a part of this organization will greatly assist me in finding opportunities in my career field and networking myself to potential future employers. The student membership seems to open up a surplus of possibilities that I never imagined I'd have access to, especially before I earned my degree.
What is the best advice you ever got?
The best advice I've ever received, although extremely basic, is the knowledge that I am not alone in my struggles. For a long time, I thought I was the only one making lower wages than everyone else, the only one in debt, the only one who was stressed about the future; but there is no more comforting thought than knowing that others are facing the same battles you are, and surviving just fine. The world is filled with people in situations similar and worse than mine, and we all find ways to power through and make things of our lives every day, it's inspiring.
What advice would you give to a student?
To a new student, I would advise them to start early and be proactive with their goals. I wish I would have known earlier the dynamics of networking and inserting yourself into the business world. However, on top of figuring out your priorities early on, I would advise this new student to really listen to their heart and pursue something that will benefit them in the long run for the all the right reasons.
Did/Do you have a mentor or colleague that you look(ed) up to for guidance?
I have a few fellow students that have attended a higher education institution for longer than I have and help me to navigate my own college career. Elise Buki is one of these people, Elise is a friend of mine who is in her 5th year at the University of Utah and loves her college experience. She encourages me to pursue the things I love no matter the physical cost. Carissa Wilcox and Marci Healy are two colleagues/employers that I have spent a hefty amount of time with and are also massive influences on the decisions I make for my future. Carissa and I have similar interests and career paths, so it is always refreshing to hear from someone who understands the world I will be entering and get her take and advice on what my next steps should be. Marci is somewhat of a mother figure, she works for conferencing for the university and has built a wonderful career where she is revered and respected. I look up to both of these women greatly and hope I can one day reach a similar level of success.
Describe something that you did at work that you are most proud of.
One of the best jobs I've ever had the pleasure of working (and I've worked my fair share) is Summer Conferencing at the University of Utah. I have worked this job for two consecutive summers, and I can honestly say it is the first job to get me on the path I am now. I don't believe I could name any one thing I did at that job that stood out from the rest, however working for the University at that capacity is extremely demanding of time, organization, and problem-solving skills. No other job has pushed me the way being a conference coordinator has, and I love it. I was proud to be a returner this year and be able to assist those whose first year it was learn the ropes. Being responsible for my own groups and how their stays are carried out is a huge responsibility that, at the end of the day, is extremely fulfilling.
What do you love most about your job?
My current job is at the University Guest House, and I do love it here as well. Hospitality is a field I have always been interested in, and it's nice to get a firsthand experience of what it's like working in a hotel. The thing I love most about this job is interacting with people that come to stay with us because, for the most part, all of our guests are positively wonderful. I love providing a memorable service to our guests and establishing a connection with those people that will last indefinitely. Especially at our Guest House where most of our guests are hospital patients, it's a great feeling to be able to brighten up their experience just by offering a unique experience and continuous customer service.
What do you like least about your job?
The things I don't like about my job are the small technicalities that come with any employment. The hours aren't great, I have to work until 11 every night, and I also need to be making higher wages in order to pay my monthly bills. Also standing for 8 hours is pretty rough, but the job itself is wonderful, and I see myself staying for at least the foreseeable future.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your student membership in ACCED-I?
I am very excited to have this opportunity and look forward to establishing my career and furthering my personal goals to ensure my own successful future.