Four Years of Preparation

July 2, 2015

Cristo Rey Boston Senior Jaimilio “Jay” Hernandez Reflects on his Time as a Work-Study Intern at O’Neill and Associates
Jay (center) with Shelly and Tom O’Neill

September of 2011 was the beginning of my life changing for the good. I was a fourteen-year-old boy who was shy and timid of almost everything. I was a short-haired, brace-faced, 5’6″ boy who was curious as to how to actually be successful in life. I enrolled at Cristo Rey Boston High School where I would find many friends who are no longer my friends, but now my family. From working at the best job possible, O’Neill and Associates, to meeting some of the best teachers in the Northeastern Region and even meeting the best friends a person could ever ask for, Cristo Rey provided me with all these things and more.

Working at O’Neill and Associates was the best experience I have ever had. Who could imagine a fourteen-year-old boy working in the biggest public affairs firm in Boston, if not the entire Northeastern region. The employees at O’Neill and Associates took me under their wings and taught me the fundamentals needed in the private sector. From teaching me how to fax, how to answer phone calls and even how to network with other people, the O’Neill and Associates family helped shape me into a young man who is already ahead of others my age.

I still remember the first day I came into work: imagine a fourteen-year-old boy who did not know how to act in a professional atmosphere. I felt scared and out of place, as if I did not belong there. I remember Marilyn giving me a couple of resumes that she needed me to copy and email to her. I took the assignment. I didn’t have much confidence in myself, but decided to go and figure out how to work the copier on my own. I put the resume on the printer and pressed “copy” and the printer took the resume and completely shredded the paper because it had a staple that I didn’t notice. I was beyond scared and I didn’t want to show myself to Marilyn. I hid from her all day and then she came to me and asked for the resume. I quietly said, “It ripped,” as I sighed and she looked at me and said “Oh honey, don’t worry that happens all the time, I have an extra copy and I will print it out so you can try again.” At that moment I realized that people make mistakes, not everyone is perfect and I decided to do the job again and again until I got it right. Fortunately for Marilyn, I got it right the next time and felt much more confident in all assignments that were given to me from that day forward.

That day was a pivotal moment for me, it taught me that I have to make mistakes in order to know how to do things the right way. I learned how to be more courageous and to not be scared of other people because they are human beings just like I am. Here I am, graduating high school as an eighteen-year-old man who has grown much wiser than I was four years ago. I have met many successful people in my high school career and I can only thank the O’Neill and Associates family for preparing me for situations like those. Because of O’Neill and Associates, I know how to adapt in certain situations and I know how to carry myself. I have come to the realization that all things in this world are never given, so I have to build up the courage to go after what I want and I can’t thank O’Neill and Associates enough for teaching me this.

For more information about Cristo Rey Boston High School, click here.

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