This post was authored by Jerico Campos , an intern within our Human Resources University Program. 

Jerico sitting at desk working.

As a young kid in school, like many, I did not listen to any of my teachers’ unsolicited ‘wisdom. This carried on throughout high school, and eventually even into college, where I attended Santa Clara University. I just didn’t see the need to listen I thought I knew the purpose of school – which to me, was to just get an A.  

That was until one of my college professors finally got through to me, informing me that I couldn’t coast by in life the way I was coasting by in school. He told me, “You can never truly learn anything unless you struggle with it.”  

Suddenly, the light turned on for me, and I realized that almost all the knowledge I had gained was through struggling with bits and pieces of life, school, and (now) my career. We all struggle from time to time, no one is immune to this – but it’s what you do with those struggles, what you learn from those struggles, that make all the difference in life. 

I started my time at Cisco as part of the Human Resources Undergraduate Program (HRUP) in the Summer of 2020 as an intern. I set a goal for myself then that I would learn as much as I could, becoming a sponge that would never stop absorbing all the knowledge shared with me in the next 12 weeks. 

From my Summer Sprint Project to projects with my team (Methods and Intelligence) I was met with my fair share of challenges and struggles. But it was a different type of ‘struggle’ too – it wasn’t strenuous, rather I felt like I was harmoniously easing my way through these struggles. Growing along the way. 

With each experience, I learned the value of effective communication and collaboration, conflict management, and even how to be comfortable in navigating the ambiguity of working remotely in 2020. I didn’t gain all those insights by myself, however, there was continuous support all around me from managers, my intern cohort, various other teammates, and even Cisco as a whole. They are who enabled me to harmoniously ease my way through every challenge and helped me gather invaluable takeaways each time. 

From my cohort came words of affirmation and constant feedback that made me feel validated in not just the work I was doing, but as an individual too. My teammates across Cisco were there each time I needed them, and always focused on ways they could help. My managers each week clearly delineated what they expected of me, provided insights and advice (both professional and personal) and, most importantly, gave me meaningful work to focus on. They cared about my personal and professional development. 

As a culmination of all this support, I felt I could bring my true and best self to work each and every day. I really leaned into the work and was able to showcase who I am as a professional, as well as who I am as a human. 

Now I see that all the struggles I had, in the end, could be redefined as successes – and that’s an invaluable lesson. Yes, the support I had at Cisco made that success possible, but it still required me to be confident in myself and put the work in to learn, grow, and reach my goals. It helped knowing that Cisco had my back, and that everyone I met genuinely cared about me.  

The two biggest takeaways I will take out of my time at Cisco is that:  

1. Navigating ambiguity is hard but can be made easy with the support and resources Cisco provides. 

2. Embrace the struggle, because there’s going to be a day where you won’t struggle as much anymore, and those struggles will eventually turn into success. 


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