Moving On: What I Learned In The Past 2 Years At SALT

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The Avenue

Sarah’s next stop isn’t Paris, but she is saying au revoir to the SALT Blog.

No one prepares you for how it feels to leave a job you love in many ways. Parting is not as simple as turning in your name badge and logging off for the last time. Having accepted a new career opportunity, I’m feeling this now, as I say so long to so many wonderful colleagues—and to you, my SALT™ Blog readers.

Change can be good, but frankly, it’s a little rattling at the same time!

So, as I wind down my time at American Student Assistance® and as a SALT blogger, I wanted to share a few key things I’ve learned along the way.

***

1. You Are In Good Company If You Have Student Loans

I never wanted to join this particular club, but I know now that for most families today, the only way to fund a college education is by taking out some loans against future earnings. I’ve learned there is no shame in having student loans—even if no one really likes to talk about them (or admit to having them, for that matter).

Student loans can make the best financial sense, given the alternative of either depleting bank accounts or not getting an education at all. Don’t shy away from them; just know what you’re getting into.

2. You Can Learn The language Of Student Loans

Maybe you find student loan terminology challenging? Take it from me: Learning the difference between an unsubsidized loan and a subsidized one is not as fun as learning French while sitting along the Champs-Élysées (I’ve done both; I’ll take Paris any day, but I digress).

Let’s be real—the mailings from your servicer or the federal government about student loans are not exactly bedtime reading (unless, of course, your goal is to fall asleep rapidly). Yet, with patience, perseverance, and some good coaching along the way, anyone can learn to understand the language of loans and be well prepared to work with their loan servicer. If I can do it, you can!

3. You Learn Things In A Job That Aren’t Always In Its Description

So much of what I will take away from working at this mission-driven nonprofit is hard to articulate. It’s not that I didn’t learn “skill A” or “skill B.” I managed to tick a few of those boxes, and my résumé shines as a result. However, I also learned things that are somewhat intangible.

It takes a while to really know what a business does, including where you fit into the mix and how you can contribute as a unique individual. Like most things in life, figuring this stuff out all begins with the people—who work together for a common good, who help you decipher the language of the company culture, and who help you get to the next level.

Try to take all that you learn in any job you have and put it into a story, so you can sell it to your next boss. It works!

4. It’s OK To Feel Sad Leaving A Job, Even When You Chose To

I am riding a wave of mixed emotions—sorry to say goodbye, yet excited for my next steps. Between exchanging contact info with my work friends and snapping pictures of my cube before taking it apart, I think about how grateful I am for all that I learned these past 2 years, as well as for the opportunities I was given. And to actually get to write my thoughts on this blog has been amazing.

As the French say, “au revoir!” Until we meet again, good luck with your personal journey.

Check out Sarah’s journey on the SALT Blog from the very beginning in her archive

(Photo: Wayne Shipley)

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  1. Carmen Guzman November 11, 2014 / 11:14 pm

    Good luck on your new adventures Sarah! Thanks for letting me be a part of ASA as an intern. I hope to read more of your stories in the future. Enjoy the uncertainty of a new gig!

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