Building Confidence through New Experiences

Wet palms, shaking legs, scratchy voice— we’ve all been there, feeling the nerves and excitement ahead of something unknown.  Confidence can be built when you least expect it, and new experiences give us opportunities to showcase strengths we didn’t even know we had.

As we start a new year, I’m looking back on some of the strengths I have gained and continue to hone. My internship at Avid Core has been filled with opportunities for growth but one of the biggest lessons I gained through this experience actually started before I was even hired to the team.

When I applied to Avid Core in July 2021, I had just finished my sophomore year at West Virginia University. I was taking communications courses and had an interest in the legal profession but had no idea where or how to become involved. I saw the Avid Core posting and sent off my application without thinking anything would come from it. Getting the call for an interview helped me start to gain confidence and realize that the quality of my work was not defined by the length of my resume. 

I was born and raised in a small town in West Virginia surrounded by values and beliefs unlike other locations across the U.S. In 2021, I had also worked up the courage to come out as a gay man to my family in West Virginia. Those from West Virginia are often perceived negatively based on the stereotypes that come from movies, television, and folklore, and I was worried I would be prejudged during my interview. But after learning more about Avid Core’s work, I realized my upbringing was one of my strengths. I was able to bring a fresh perspective, share my experiences, and offer a voice that was missing from the Avid Core team.

My internship has taught me how vital it is to listen to people and ensure their voices and perspectives are heard and understood. Avid Core’s most successful projects are rooted in listening to and learning from diverse groups of people and the team here helped me see how my own unique world view and experiences can play a role in that process.

Next time you find yourself looking at an amazing opportunity and feeling too nervous to go for it, think back to the small-town boy from West Virginia who got a job with Avid Core. Find the confidence to grow, lead, and be yourself. Apply for that job. Lead that project. And take that chance because you never know what the outcome might be if you don’t try.

Photo Courtesy of Trevor Swiger

Trevor Swiger is a junior at West Virginia University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.