This is the seventh in a series of blog posts by Hillel professionals, sharing why they love what they do.
Pictured (L-R): students Stephanie Levine, Rachel Rosenberg, Dani Gittleman and Mark Doebler with the author, center.
Do what you like and like what you do. It’s a simple enough idea, but how many people can actually say they make a living doing something they love? Thanks to sheer luck, I am one of those people. Over the past five years, Hillel has given me the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally and I have found continual fulfillment in the work I do. As the Director of Engagement and Campus Initiatives at the Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center at Michigan State University, I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life every day. This proves Hillel is truly a great place to work. Whether I am meeting a first year student for lunch, sitting in on a Jews in Greek Life meeting, or helping a group of student leaders plan a week-long campus initiative, no two days are alike, and each day brings new and exciting challenges.
Unlike many of my peers who are perpetually unfulfilled in their corporate office jobs, I am consistently encouraged to think outside of the box. The encouragement and support I receive from my supervisor and colleagues is unmatched, and has no doubt contributed to my passion for the work we do at Hillel. Beyond working in a positive environment with enthusiastic people, the one thing that truly makes Hillel a great place to work is the bonds forged with students. Throughout my years at Hillel, I have had the privilege to be an active participant in many of my students’ growth and development. Fostering and developing meaningful relationships with my students isn’t just a perk—it’s an actual job requirement. In my opinion, nothing is more rewarding than knowing you’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life, even if it’s in the smallest way.
Of course not every day is perfect. There are moments of frustration and defeat; days when I am convinced I will never succeed. Luckily, those few days are quickly overshadowed by something wonderful that inevitably happens—a wildly successful program, an unexpected conversation, a great laugh with my colleagues. Working for Hillel is no cakewalk. As a programmer, I often work long hours and am constantly “on” regardless of what’s happening in my personal life. The benefits of this profession, however, greatly compensate for these small sacrifices. Each day is new and exciting, filled with opportunities to make a difference in my own campus community. The personalized support and professional development is incomparable and, most importantly, I have fun every single day.
As a young professional, I am constantly asked by friends and families what my next step is and truthfully, it’s hard for me to answer that question. I love what I do and I am fulfilled where I work, which is such a rarity. I don’t know where life will take me next, but I do know that I am perfectly happy where I am right now. So I’m going to take my own advice, and do what I like and like what I do.
Robyn Berkowitz is the Director of Engagement and Campus Initiatives at the Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center at Michigan State University. She began her Hillel work as a Program Associate in June of 2008, and was promoted to her current position in June of 2010. A proud MSU alumna, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and attending Spartan athletic events. Go Green!