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MC Spotlight: Alastair Smith
The University of Louisville (UofL) senior Alastair Smith is an aspiring marketing student and member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, who is passionate about sales and community service.
“I came to the University of Louisville because I heard about the Metropolitan College program and I wanted to graduate college debt free.”
Smith graduated from Oldham County High School in May 2015 with 46 dual credits from Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC). He earned his associate’s degree from JCTC in August 2016 and will earn his bachelor’s degree in May 2018. “I am excited to see what opportunities I will get once I graduate in May 2018,” said Smith. Smith desires to work in the sales industry in a role working directly with customers and prospects to explain product benefits and features; while also negotiating prices to close the sale.
Smith shared that one of his greatest accomplishments in life thus far has been becoming a part-time supervisor at UPS. Smith was recently promoted from package handler to part-time front line supervisor at UPS where he manages a group of 19 union employees. His team monitors and sorts packages for quality and are tasked with reducing scanning errors and increasing timely deliveries. Smith has gained valuable practical experience while working at UPS and recognizes firsthand how management theories learned from his business courses apply to the workplace.
I have had an overall amazing college experience that wouldn’t be possible without the help of UPS/Metropolitan College.
Smith is passionate about community service and prides himself in being a people person and leader. Through his fraternity chapter, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Smith has enjoyed and served in numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the Louisville community. “I have especially enjoyed volunteering at Wesley House Community Services,” said Smith, a non-profit organization that serves to provide affordable child care to working parents along with a number of workforce development and computer education programs to help every individual experience life more abundantly. Another cause near and dear to Smith’s heart is the RaiseRED Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropy event on UofL’s campus that fund raises year-round to support the children, families, and doctors fighting pediatric cancer.
Smith admits that it can be hard to balance school and work, but he believes whole-heartedly that you can achieve anything with a high degree of self-motivation. “I've learned if you want to be successful you have to persevere and push through the tough times,” said Smith.
The Metropolitan College program, Smith explains, has afforded him the opportunity to graduate college debt-free, and for that, Smith is forever grateful. “I have had an overall amazing college experience that wouldn’t be possible without the help of UPS/Metropolitan College,” said Smith.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about the Metropolitan College program?
The best part of Metropolitan College program apart from the academic bonus checks, is the opportunity to meet with the MC Student Development Counselors to review my resume and practice my interview skills*.
*All MC students are required to participate in the Career and Academic Program Plan (CAPP).
Q: How has UPS prepared you for your intended career field?
I have learned several lessons as a part-time supervisor:
- Confidence. You must have confidence in your own abilities and be able to learn from mistakes and be confident in every decision you make.
- Passion. You have to choose to make the most of what you do no matter how hard it gets because if you don't, you won't make it.
- Personal Ambition. Commit to understanding your goals and what you want to get out of Metropolitan College and UPS and keeping it all in perspective.
- Resilience. Be resilient and understand that sometimes thing won't go the way you want and you have to be able to pick yourself up and keep moving toward your goal.
Q: What has most contributed to your success with balancing academic, work, and personal life while working nights at UPS?
Time Management, most importantly, and setting priorities has contributed to my success. I have a calendar I fill out and monitor daily that helps keep me on track. Next, I set priorities. There is always a time and place to do things and making sure I accomplish the most important tasks first and work my way through them has help me to balance all parts of my life.
Q: What advice do you have for current and future MC participants who want to make the most out of the program?
It can get really hard quickly working and going to school and trying to have some personal time. I have found that when I changed my attitude and enjoyed all the little things in life, I was happier, I worked harder, I got better grades, and I had more time to spend with my family and friends.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
Both of my parents have had the biggest influence on my life. They are both very hard working people and have always been there to support me throughout my life. They taught me to always persevere and to never give up. On many occasions, they have helped me make the right choice and have reminded me what is important. I am lucky to have two wonderful people to model after and help me become the person I am today. I don't think I could have done it without them.
Q: What is your favorite quote/life motto?
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. ~ Maya Angelou
I tell my employees this quote all the time because I think it applies to anyone in college working nights at UPS to make the best out of a situation. It wasn't easy taking morning classes and working nights. However, I read this quote last year right before peak season and took it to heart and it has changed my life both personally and at work. I now strive to have a positive attitude each day.
Metropolitan College is looking for current and former Metropolitan College participants to spotlight! If you know of someone, please contact Renecia Griffie Davis, Student Development Counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-852-2534.
“This journey has not been easy … but hard work and perseverance pay off,” says Smith who has already earned nearly $30,000 in tuition benefits, book reimbursements and academic bonuses.
"Thanks to UPS, I can go to school and graduate debt free!"