I set out to be an athletic trainer at Washington State University. That's what I loved doing and that's where my life was taking me. Then I wanted be a nurse because they made more money and I could stay in the medical field. I decided nursing school was too competitive and I wanted to work with kids and become a teacher. Then I decided university life wasn't for me and moved home to complete my associate's degree. During this time, my parents hired me to work at our family run business, Finish Line Lube 'n' Tune, which was an auto repair shop.
I originally started as the service writer, helping customers, answering the phone, and some other daily tasks. During this time, Finish Line was making a transition from Lube 'n' Tune to Finish Line Speed Shop, where we added hot rod restoration. My parents asked for my help and input in the transition and I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into by saying yes. My task was more than a service writer now. I was helping with event planning, marketing, advertising, and building an online presence. As a millennial, it's pretty expected that we know all about social media and when push comes to shove, we do. Some days I quit and some days I couldn't wait to show up, that is kind of how family run businesses roll. I doubted myself everyday, it was my first time taking on a position like this. My parents were always telling me how good I was at it, but I couldn't get over the idea that I just wanted out of there; the typical teenager thought.
While working and going to school, I became obsessed with watching every episode of NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Law & Order SVU. I wanted to become an investigator. I was also craving something new, so I declared my major at Central Washington University; Law & Justice. I made the move to Ellensburg, Washington. I searched and searched for jobs, when I finally came to the conclusion to just go with what I know, which landed me in a job at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
After two quarters of Law & Justice classes, I realized it wasn't the right fit for me, which my parents politely told me many times. When trying to decide where to go next, all I could here was the voice of my parents in the back of my head telling me I had a talent. That's where I found myself in a one credit intro class in the Communication department. I found my calling; Public Relations. I jumped in head first. I loved everything about it and turns out I was actually pretty good at it. Once I got into the higher level classes, I realized there was a common question, "What kind of PR do you want to do?" I had to really think about what I was passionate about.
When learning about the different industries of PR, I started to get worried. I can't do fashion PR, because well my friends usually have to help dress me; if it's not a hoodie, chances are I don't own it. I can't do beauty, because I bought my first tube of foundation my senior year of college and I still don't have any idea how to put on concealer. Health PR didn't interest me. I understand nothing about politics, so there goes that one. How was I going to enjoy PR if I didn't enjoy any of the industries we were learning about?
I love old cars, new cars, lowered trucks, lifted trucks, and anything that goes vroom. As much as I complained about how hard it was being a girl in the automotive industry through Finish Line and O'Reilly's, there is nothing I loved more than proving someone wrong who underestimated me. At this point I had to face the fact that I should've listened to my parents all along. I would never admit that to them of course, because I'm always right, but I love the automotive industry.
After receiving several automotive scholarships, getting an expenses paid trip to the AAPEX show and SEMA show in Las Vegas, networking with people in the automotive industry, and taking on Kelleher Motor Company as my client through Central Communication Agency, I realized I was succeeding at doing what I loved. I was combining Public Relations with the automotive industry. Through all of these occasions, I got to hear my parents say, "I told you so." It ended up being the best "I told you so" I could ever hear.
As I sit here today, graduating in three months and stressing at applying for jobs, I realize there is no amount of credit I could give to Finish Line Speed Shop for helping me find who I was, what I loved, and who I wanted to become. A place I wanted so badly to escape from, was the place that guided me down an adventure I never knew I would take. My opportunities are endless and I am one of few graduating students who know EXACTLY what they want to do in life. Finish Line Speed Shop is a place I believe in because it helped me believe in myself. There is no one word that can describe working with family, but I've found these words to be the most fitting; we may not have it all together, but together we have it all.