I was sitting at work Friday, a little bored, and I saw a post from Bristol Palin that said she would be doing a small book signing in DC and the first 100 to RSVP would get a free book and would be signed by her and her ghostwriter. I was a little bummed that I was not getting to go to CPAC so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and go to the book signing. Keep in mind that I NEVER do anything like this because I always assume I won’t be in the first how ever many people to respond. I impatiently waited for an email saying I would be going and about 7:30 Friday night I received my email that I was in the 100 and gave me the information I needed.
One of my favorite pics I have taken here
So I obviously had an epic failure when it came to blogging about my TFA experiences, but I will have to keep up now since journaling this experience is how I get a grade. This blog will now be about all my adventures as an intern in Washington, DC.
I have been here a little over a week but I have only worked 2 days. I spent some time with my family for a few days while they were here and of course did all the site seeing things such as museums, monuments, and memorials, oh my!! Yes, it was absolutely exhausting, and no matter what type of shoes you wear your feet are killing you by the time you see that much stuff. I used the time after they left to get settled in and get to know my roommates. As of now there are 5 girls and 6 guys. This should be interesting.
My first day of work was this past Thursday. Being completely honest, I will say I was terrified because I had no clue what I would be doing and how the staff would treat me. Well the staff is absolutely amazing, and it’s going to make work so much fun. This is definitely going to be an interesting semester and I cannot wait to see the exciting things that are going to happen.
I knew going in to this that I was going to be busy and tired, but I never imagined it would be like this. I am going to try and get a little bit written about what has happened since my last post…beware this could take a while. So to start I will go back to the week we began preparing for registration. This was a project that my team was responsible for and creating the method for set-up was my job. I spent much of this week gathering supplies, organizing stations, and creating instructions for set up. On Saturday we had a limited amount of time to get everything completely set up, but since there was good planning we were able to get it done very quickly. Sunday finally came and it was a day I had been waiting on ever since registration day ended last summer, only this time I had a much different role. Everything went so smoothly…I could not have asked for a better day or better help from all the staff that were present. Usually when I have a project similar to this I am stressed to the max the day of the event, but this time was so different. I was calm and not stressed at all, even when we found out the rain the night before destroyed all our signs and they had to be remade that day. The next few days were spent at a computer entering in data and making sure we were on top of all our paperwork and documents that needed to be submitted. Because a large project that we were responsible for was now finished, we were able to spend a lot of time with another team to ensure that all the paperwork they needed sorted and organized was completed (I’m talking separating and alphabetizing about 2500 papers or more).
I am now beginning work on a new project that our team was given. This is a project that has never been done at any institute so it is really exciting to be working on it. We are creating videos of various sessions and conducting interviews that will be used to train other staff in the upcoming years as well as using them to recruit. This means that we are traveling around to the various Delta schools and filming each day. When it was first brought up that at some point during institute we would go to school sites, I can honestly say I was not thrilled by any means. It just seemed like something that I would not enjoy. Boy was I wrong. I have been at school sites the last 2 days, and they have been 2 of the best days I have had here. There is something about sitting in these schools and listening to the staff and seeing corps members that is so inspiring. It really is almost indescribable the feeling I have had being around these people and the children. The experience so far has really opened my eyes to where I want to go with my life. I have seriously considered the idea of working for this organizations, maybe not as a corps member, but it now has a very special place in my heart. I am so excited to go back to more schools this week.
It has been rather strange still being at Delta State for this job. Most people are far from home and expected not to see their friends, family, boyfriends/girlfriends for the 7 weeks or so that we are here. For me I never expected that I would be keeping up with family, friends, co-workers, and roommates through Facebook and Twitter. I am still living in the same town, and yet it is almost like I am many, many miles away from everyone. We have this small community here at institute and it has been very rare for me to get out in to my normal life here in Cleveland. But I guess that is what happens when you are as busy as us and your life becomes full of craziness.
So it is now day 3 of us getting institute ready. These have been some very, very long days, but somehow I feel like I have so much energy all the time. I think it has to do with the fact that everyone has such a positive attitude about everything that has to be done. We started out the first day checking dorm rooms, which really made us work together to get the job done. On day 2 we finished up dorms and then all moved to various projects that most likely had nothing to do with the area that we would be working in. What we could all see was that everyone was always willing to help others, and by doing this and working together collectively we were able to get the job done much quicker.
I have begun working more and more on the specific projects that I will own for the summer, and surprisingly I am not stressed about it. These projects are going to force me to really manage my time and prioritize, which is something I do not tend to do. I will also have the opportunity to essentially plan my week plans and actions that need to be completed. This is something I am really looking forward to. We also went through our training today, and I learned much more than I thought I would. I learned how to effectively communicate during stressful situations as well as getting a better understanding of my working style. One of the biggest take-a-ways from today for me was the idea that “If I don’t bring it up, I have to let it go.” If i have a problem with someone or something it is my responsibility to bring it up to the person and if I choose not to be proactive about it then I have to let it go and not dwell on it because I am the reason the problem is not solved. This is something I can apply to all aspects of my life, and it is much needed!!
This will be another busy week, and I am looking forward to what new things I am going to learn!!
This blog, for now, will be about my experiences, feelings, and thoughts during my time as an Operations Coordinator for Teach For America’s Delta Institute. I was told that journaling my experiences would be something good for me as I could always go back and remember how I was feeling or what I was experiencing at that very moment in time. I have been preparing for this summer since November of 2010 when I was first presented with the idea of applying for this position (some would say I started preparing last summer). Over the last few weeks I have been prepping myself for the responsibilities I am about to take on. It seemed that after every conference call or check-in I would be super excited and ready for things to start, but then of course I would then realize how big of a deal this job is and that scared me and still does.
Today was the day that all the other OCs arrived to Delta State. I am in a unique position because I am the only one from Mississippi, as well as being the only person from Delta State. It was very odd when some of the Institute Directors approached me and told me how excited they were that I was joining their team. Some of these I do not recall meeting but they definitely knew who I was and knew all about the work I did last summer. Today was hard because I was very scared of what I am getting myself in to, and I did not want to leave my other job for the rest of the summer. It has been a roller coaster of feelings today for sure. As other team members began arriving I was very excited. Everyone is so pumped about this summer and all of us working together. After seeing this energy and excitement I realized that this summer is going to be filled with fun and hard work, but we have a great group here which will probably make the work seem like fun. I have a wonderful team, and I can already tell we are going to be very close (and it helps that our office is pretty AWESOME!!). I know that I am going to be stressed and things may not always go how I planned, but this will be an amazing learning experience for me! I look forward to the journey I am now embarking on…So ready to see where this wonderful adventure takes me!!!!