The Power of Persistence

The Power of Persistence

Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. 
– William Eardley IV
 
It was January 2, 2013 and I was eligible to start my internship in six months, by which time I would have completed the first half of my masters degree program in cyber security. I felt now would be the perfect time to start searching and applying for summer internships. With so many companies looking for interns with a computer science background, my prospects looked quite good. 
 
My job applications within the first few weeks landed me some interviews, but I was unsuccessful at getting an internship. Still, it was only the middle of February at this point and I felt I still had plenty of time to secure an internship for the summer.
 
The weeks went by and all my applications kept getting rejected. There was a startup company that wanted to hire me but called it off just a few weeks prior to me starting work. Apparently, they had overestimated the budget they had for salaries so they couldn’t hire the number of people they wanted to. I was really upset with this development because I had stopped looking for jobs. I had been happy with their job offer and the company was working on a product that I felt would be a big hit. Their decision to renege on hiring me was a big blow. But, I was able to find another company that was looking to hire interns, so I applied.
 
I made it to the final stage, when it was just me and one other candidate vying for the job. Unfortunately, they chose to go with him and, yet again, I was without an internship for the summer. I was running out of time fast.
 
On the morning of May 23rd, I woke up feeling very desperate and rather discouraged. With no internship and the end of the school year only a few days away, I had no way of making money in order to pay for the fall semester. I decided to try one last time to secure an internship, so I switched on my laptop and searched for the tech companies closest to where I lived. I found one that was approximately seven miles away, so I got into my car and drove there, determined to get a job. 
 
I literally just walked into the office, introducing myself and telling the owner, whose name was Brian, that I was looking for an internship. Unfortunately, he told me that they had already hired another student for the position. I drove back home feeling dejected and sad. 
 
I was ready to call it quits at this point. I was contemplating calling my father to tell him the situation when my phone rang. It was Brian. He told me to come back the next day because he wanted to talk to me.
 
Feeling a little hopeful, I drove back the next day. On getting to the office, Brian ushered me into his office and almost immediately told me that he was interested in hiring me as an intern. I was almost ready to shout for joy, but all that euphoria died as soon as he quickly added that he wouldn’t be able to pay me.
 
I was in a dilemma. Here was a chance to get some work experience, but I wasn’t going to get paid. I had to decide whether to accept the job or just walk away and try to find something else. I eventually decided to take the job. Even if I wasn’t going to get paid, I would still get some work experience and that would give my resume a boost.
 
Two weeks into the job, Brian called me into his office and said that he had been impressed with the work I had done so far. More importantly, he offered to start paying me - an offer I gladly accepted.
 
It’s been almost two years now and I am still with the company. I enjoy working there and I can say that my decision to leave my home and drive there, looking for a job is one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I never stepped out of my comfort zone and drove to the office looking for a job, I never would have gotten the internship and maybe I might not even have a job today.

The purpose of this story is to inspire and motivate you to go after what you want. If you dream of accomplishing a certain goal, never let disappointments or setbacks prevent you from pursuing that goal. Keep pushing on and you will surely succeed.  Remember that sometimes in order to achieve something, you may have to do things that other people won’t do.
 
 
Alexander Oni is a web developer, blogger, and world traveler who grew up in Russia and Nigeria. He came to the United States as an international student in August, 2012, and graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in May, 2014, with a master’s degree in cybersecurity. Alex is currently teaching a Udemy course titled “The Ultimate Guide: Succeed as a Foreign Student in America.” To sign up for the course with a Study in the USA discount, go to: www.udemy.com/the-ultimate-guide-succeed-as-a-foreign-student-in-america.