By: Azalea Buch, Staff Writer

We, as students, commencing into arguably the most critical years of our lives, have the tendency to not take a glance at what truly leads us to where we are, how we react, and where we draw inspiration from. Quite frankly, inspiration is drawn from where we least expect it. Jean Cavanaugh is unexpectedly an inspiration to many people. Jean is the supervisor of the USM mail services and is vital to an abundance of people at USM.  Nearly every day over hundreds of packages arrive at the mailroom, and every single package is significant to the students who live on campus; whether it be an order from Amazon or an overdue package from family you miss everyday. Although Jean may never come into direct contact with every student that receives a package, nor will she ever know what the packages are comprised of, she knows how important they are to each individual student.

She does not employ many students for work-study positions in the mailroom but the ones that she does choose to hire are typically “perfect fits” she says; she looks for students with bright personalities that cooperate with others to provide community in her office and around campus. Her favorite part of her position is “interacting first hand with the students that work for [her] and having the honor of seeing them flourish into who they were meant to be while seeing them receive the degrees they deserve.”  She hopes to inspire students and the people who surround her everyday with her beautiful adorning personality, it tends to bring out the best in all of us. Elizabeth Trudel and Gabrielle Nelson, USM mail services employees state, that Jean is not only their boss, but someone they genuinely care for on a personal level. My peers such as Elizabeth and Gabrielle, and I are highly privileged to have had the blessing and opportunity to work for Jean and to know her on the level that we do because the light she has provided in our lives is undeniable.

Jean has found her way as an unintentional inspiration to all of her employees by her genuine personality and the manner in which she truly pours her true self and effort into everything she does. There was one statement she made that has definitely stuck with me ever since I heard her say it, it was “ there are two things you get out of a job. One, the paycheck and two the heart payback, all the things you can’t receive through money.” This is a meaningful statement because for college students trying to figure it all out and with literally no clue what we want to pursue in life, makes us aware that there is not only one reason we have jobs or why we make the choices we do. The realistic reason as to why we pursue the careers we do or make the decisions we make, is that we do it for the money or whatever benefits that  may arise; and the secondary, and to some the “less significant” reason is, as what Jean would call the “heart payback” the pleasure and passion we as humans cannot receive through money or materialistic items. The words people say that stick with you, whether they be good or bad ,are influential, and the people who fixated the words in your memory played a significant role in your life, whether one realizes it or not. The optimistic perspective Jean carries with her at all times truly captivates everyone she encounters and sincerely makes people happy, brings them up when they are down, and demonstrates that we should be undoubtedly thankful for everyday lived and everyday to come.

People like Jean, or people like you and I, that lead average, everyday lives attempting to keep afloat are the inspirations one should take a glance at before the opportunities to be genuinely captivated and inspired surpass us.


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