How My DECA Experience Transitioned Into the Workplace

For years I have preached that DECA is a valuable organization for students to partake in because it equips you with resources that the classroom cannot. I have seen firsthand how this organization changes lives. My DECA journey began in high school and this experience was so positively impactful that I not only changed my degree choice to business, but also continued onward into Collegiate DECA.

Over the years, I have improved my public speaking, networking and communication skills thanks to this organization. I have also had the opportunity to visit places and meet people I would have never thought I would. Anyways, that’s not what I am trying to tell you. Rather, I want to share a story with you.

Your last year of college is TERRIFYING. It is the time to truly start figuring out your life and getting things together. Entering into my last year, I was finishing up two bachelor’s degrees and starting my certificate. I had worked a variety of jobs, interned and held leadership positions in several organizations, but still did not know where I was headed after graduation.

Over the past five years, DECA had been throwing opportunities at me and I was not present to catch them. Little did I know that one person I met through DECA would mean so much. A girl named Rachel Van West volunteers her time to give Collegiate DECA members the best experience possible and the time I spent networking with her turned into a really extraordinary opportunity. She became my mentor in more ways than one. Rachel helped me run for Collegiate DECA executive office and then hired me as her intern at Insight Enterprises.

Think back to all of those awkward networking moments and encounters with judges. The more you did them, the easier it got, correct? Cherish all of those moments where you thought something along the lines of, “Wow I can’t believe I just said that,” or, “Why did I just do that?”

In the working world, you are constantly meeting new people and engaging in business ventures. Those awkward moments are going to come again, but this time you will be better prepared to handle them. Similar to my experience with Rachel, you will come across people that have the ability to change your life for the better if you let them.

Keep that door open for when opportunity knocks. Two of my all-time favorite quotes are:

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
“Your network is your net worth.”

I love these quotes because they motivate me to go out, meet new people and seek out opportunities. Being a DECA member is something to take pride in. The organization is so widely known internationally, so don’t be afraid to brag about your experience! We DECA students have a reputation of being great workers in our careers. Best of luck in your future careers.

Follow Darcie on Twitter @cdecavpdarcie.

Categories: Business, Career Advice, College & Career Advice, Tips For Finding A Job