by Abby Murphy
Senior at Wakefield High School

Four months after job shadowing at PSG last March, I was lucky enough to become a contractor for the company this summer. The opportunity provided me with insight into the educational publishing field and allowed me to gain a great deal of knowledge through hands-on experiences. During my time at PSG, I was able to further explore my interests and develop critical skills that will benefit me now and in the future.

Compared to my job shadowing experience, of course, this was a more in-depth endeavor, as I became a participating member of the PSG community rather than just an observer. In my previous blog post, I mentioned that I learned important occupational skills. This was a unique opportunity for a high-school student, and I kept these key factors that I absorbed in March in mind when entering in July as a contractor. These qualities, including collaborating with coworkers and effectively communicating, were instilled even more so throughout my employment at PSG.

Starting off the summer, I was assigned to work on an audio production project. Through this work, I learned the importance of performing quality control on materials in several distinct passes. In order to ensure the best product possible, items and processes need to be checked and re-checked, an idea that I found applicable to all aspects of the publishing field. In other words, a second draft is always better than a first. This lesson will be invaluable as I enter college and begin a new phase of my education.

I spent the majority of my time at PSG on another project, working within a content management system. It was through this work that I developed an often-underestimated skill: effective communication. Engaging with coworkers is essential, especially in an office setting. Since I was new to the office, I consistently had questions and needed advice on projects. Additionally, it was crucial to have a second set of eyes looking at something for another viewpoint and opinion. Asking questions was vital in order to put forth the performance expected of me. With the guidance of the experienced PSG employees, I found the help and answers I needed. Everyone was genuinely willing and excited to help because they knew the importance of every team member having a full understanding of the tasks at hand.

My time at PSG was something I looked forward to during the summer and a job in which I found great enjoyment. I feel truly privileged to have had this opportunity to work in an office with people who are passionate about the field they are in and from whom I can—and did—learn a lot. Although I was the youngest person working in the office, I was treated with respect, which I highly appreciated. This respect eased my first-day jitters and boosted my confidence. This experience taught me numerous skills relevant to any career, such as computer proficiency and the value of an effective and appropriate email. In the midst of college applications and decisions, I remain interested in majoring in English largely thanks to my experience at PSG and the skills I acquired each day as a team member.

Did You Know?

The presumed need for a fully loaded transcript puts pressure on many a college applicant. Often, students worry that colleges and universities are only interested in the traditional extras: athletics, school-based clubs and other extracurricular activities, and volunteering opportunities. However, many schools also express interest in applicants who show the value of hard work. Stephanie Dupaul, director of admissions at Southern Methodist University (SMU), notes that a summer job “demonstrates that students are working hard. We look for students who haven’t turned off over the summer.” Ann McDermott, director of admissions at the College of the Holy Cross, agrees, particularly in the cases of students who are working not just for the experience or pocket change, but also to help foot their own tuition bill: “I applaud any student who is either helping themselves or helping their family.” A part-time job or an internship is just one of many ways to gain important experience in high school and better prepare students for the real world. And if they’re applying to schools, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one more bulleted item on that “Experiences” section of the résumé.