Boston Financial is proud to partner with Year Up, an intensive 12-month training program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with the skills, support, and hands-on experience to achieve academic and professional success. We currently have three Year Up interns and eight alumni working at Boston Financial. One intern, Bryant Daye, shares his experience below.
“I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.” – Sean Carter
It’s a beautiful summer day as I stroll into work through the doors of Audi and Porsche of Westwood. Before I have the chance to say good morning, my manager says, “Get ready, you have to take the red convertible R8 back to Cape Cod this morning.”
Driving a $200,000 Audi and other high-end cars around the Boston area was part of my job. For most 21-year olds, this might seem like a dream job. And it was for me but not because I got to drive beautiful cars.
Don’t get me wrong, driving luxury cars all day was great; until the day was over. Then, it was time to go home in my beat up 2000 Volkswagen Jetta with a missing door lock. The job made me realize there was more to life than driving someone else’s car and living their dream.
“Can I Live?” – Sean Carter
I was a lost young adult in the world. I lacked guidance and motivation. I was too comfortable saying “I’m young. I’ll worry about that later.” But I learned a valuable lesson working at the Audi and Porsche dealership: you don’t work hard at the job that’s paying you $10 an hour; you work hard to get out of the job that’s only paying you $10 an hour. It took a car dealership, not an elite education, to bring out my potential.
“Hi, Bryant. Congratulations on your acceptance to Year Up!”
Year Up wasn’t something I had planned on. I hadn’t heard of it until a close friend, who was applying, suggested I sign up. Year Up is a non-profit program that seeks to close the Opportunity Divide. It empowers urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support necessary to reach their potential in professional careers and higher education.
When I looked into Year Up, I learned it would allow me to earn free college credit toward my bachelor’s degree and provide an internship and academic stipend. Within a week, I had all the enrollment requirements in hand and my interview scheduled.
Based on Year Up’s information sessions, I knew the academics would be intense. But the first few days were not what I expected. We played games. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Yet those games, which seemed meaningless at first, made my fellow students and me more comfortable with one another, brought us closer together, and built camaraderie.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Some students couldn’t handle the expectations Year Up demanded and eventually they fired themselves from the program. “Firing yourself” is Year Up’s way of saying you’re not ready. At the start of Year Up, students sign a contract that stipulates things like timeliness and professionalism. If students violate the contract, they receive an infraction. Multiple infractions can lead to firing yourself.
As the program continued, I watched my immediate group of friends’ fire themselves from the program until I was the only one left standing. Maybe they didn’t take the program as serious as I did. Or maybe they were content with being another statistic in the urban community. That life wasn’t for me.
As I progressed in Year Up, I grew as a young professional. I became more accountable, learned to think critical, and became a better communicator. My grades were some of the highest in my class. I became focused on my corporate internship at Boston Financial Data Services, working in the Investor Services division. I’ve learned how important social skills, perseverance, and accountability are to success.
Through my mentors and managers at Boston Financial and Year Up, I’ve been able to also focus on my career aspirations. Year Up even introduced me to venture capital. I now have sights set on becoming a venture capitalist, my dream profession.
Year Up was everything I needed to guide me in the right direction. It showed me that I can be something in this world. Because it’s not only knowing what you want to be in this world; sometimes, it’s more important to know how to get where you want to go.
“A dream without a plan is only a wish. “- Katherine Paterson