“Hi, my name is Rachel, and I’m a student calling from Transylvania University. How are you this evening?”
If you had asked me four years ago if I’d ever get a job that was solely based around talking to people, I probably would have laughed at the idea. I love words and writing is a passion, but I tend to get nervous when I talk in front of people. I have a classic case of fear of public speaking. I myself never imagined getting such a job, where my voice would possibly influence people.
Yet, when I saw the ‘NOW HIRING’ sign for the Transylvania Phonathon, something in me said to go for it.
The Transy Phonathon works all year, from October through May Term. It’s a team of students, working with the Alumni and Development Office, who gets in contact with alumni and graduates and their family members. We talk about ongoing events on campus, discuss how things have grown and changed, and also discuss the Annual Fund. This fund supports scholarships all across campus, allowing more students to attend – and experience – Transylvania University. We answer any questions we can and make sure the alumni are still receiving updates and the newsletter, asking about involvement and visitation to campus, and even inviting the different classes to their reunions.
I don’t know what inspired me to apply for the job with the Phonathon. It was a job based solely around my voice! Yet I was excited upon receiving the job. And I found that speaking over the phone was not only much easier, but it could be incredibly rewarding. I have spoken with alumna of my sorority, heard what my sisterhood had done in years past and spread the word on our current philanthropy, our love of volunteering and different events we participate in. I have spoken with alumni who love to chat about what they studied, how they enjoyed their Transy experience, and what professors were here when they were students. It’s amazing, to learn what the past was like and sometimes, maybe, get a glimpse of what the future will be like for me.
It’s amazing, to get to work with many different students and to get to speak with alumni from over the years and their families. I’ve even spoken with one of my father’s coworkers, who chatted with me not only about him remembering me as a child but how he remembered his time at Transylvania (By the way, dad, I’m onto you still talking about us all the time). I love my job; I can’t imagine not calling alumni to share current developments in Transylvania and learn of their time here. And someday, I know I’m going to be that old alumna that the Phonathon calls who sits and reminisces for half an hour, telling the new callers all about my days at Transy.