Track runner reflects on getting a taste of the big leagues

Track runner reflects on getting a taste of the big leagues

While running for the track & field team is one of his main activities at Albion College, Jon Haadsma has his attention on a different sport.

He dreamed of a job working in the front office of a Major League Baseball team since growing up in Battle Creek.

The accounting and history major may have reached first base in realizing that dream during the fall semester when he interned with the Philadelphia Phillies as part of his experience with The Philadelphia Center.

"To show up at Citizens Bank Park and to have access to the whole stadium was incredible," Haadsma, who prepped at Lakeview High School said.

Haadsma described The Philadelphia Center program as experiencing the real world with a safety net. In addition to working in the front office four days a week, participants are required to take two classes. Participants set up their housing arrangement during their first week in Philadelphia and interview for their internship the second week.

"While the possibility of interning with the Phillies got my attention, there was no guarantee I would get it," Haadsma said. "The Philadelphia Center is a hands on experience that pushes students to critically analyze and to breakdown their encounters in the city and in their internship."

Relatively new to accounting, Haadsma sold his passion, willingness to be a team player and being open to new ideas.

In fact, one of the most important things Haadsma gained from the experience was working in Excel and seeing the intersection of his majors that would seem to be disparate.

"I worked with account binders to make sure it matched with the general ledger and dissected accounts and invoices to get the information needed from those documents," he added. "I had a much clearer image of the department's functions by the end of the internship.

"History helps you articulate and understand situations in context of telling a story," he concluded. "In a way, accounting tells a financial story."

With the financial year running from November to October, Haadsma also worked with the closing and opening of the organization's accounting from one year to the next.

And, of course, there was time for baseball on the field. Haadsma had the opportunity to watch some of the best pitchers in the National League as the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw and the Nationals with Gio Gonzalez in town for series late in the season.

"There were a lot of things I got to see in the workplace," Haadsma said. "We were moving equipment one day and I pulled out an original of Pete Rose's contact.

"The Phillies are an anomaly in that lots of sport organizations don't run as tight of a ship," he added. "Any other job would come nowhere close to what the Phillies offer."

Haadsma said the entire experience – which included personal growth ranging from facilitating meetings with roommates to cooking and navigating metropolitan areas – has helped me gain an appreciation for life back on campus.

"The city is fantastic – friendly and community based," Haadsma said. "The Philadelphia Center faculty and staff ensure that the students have a good experience."

"After testing the waters of what post-graduation will be like, I would tell (Albion classmates) to stop stressing about class and to soak it all in. Enjoy hanging out with friends after a late night of homework. College is truly a special time and it flies by," the president-elect of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity added.

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