The day after my college advisor informed me that my semi-strenuous five year stint in college would not be complete without an internship, I begrudgingly began my search on Craigslist. Within 10 minutes my eyes began glazing over with visions of harsh florescent lighting and taking coffee orders. I was about to call it a day until I stumbled upon the headline “Fundraising Coach Extraordinaire – Do you like burritos?” Wait, what? Am I dreaming? Am I being Craigslist scammed with awesomeness?
The Craigslist posting inspired me to throw away my boring, vanilla cover letter which read to the effect of “blah blah sociology major blah blah please oh please hire me” and talk about things that really mattered to me – helping people and Mortal Kombat for Super Nintendo. To my surprise and utter delight, I was brought in for an interview the following week and was subsequently “hired” as a GiveForward intern.
Becoming an intern to a small start up was a new and exciting experience. Everyone was essentially an intern – Desiree and Ethan didn’t take a salary at this point, so in a sense we were all equals. Everyone’s opinion and input were welcome on how to make our company better. We were crammed in a tiny office, and I mean tiny, learning and growing in the Chicago start-up scene. GiveForward subscribes to a “weird is good” mantra. I was encouraged to be as creative as I wanted to be, in my own way. Sending users virtual high fives and writing “Woof woof! That’s dog speak to get well soon” on pet medical donation checks was something I proudly reported back to my college advisor as projects I spearheaded. Not only did an internship help me graduate college, it helped me grow as an aspiring adult. I might not have been getting paid, but I was growing personally and professionally in leaps and bound. I became a person who was capable of taking on tasks and being proud of my work.
I was an intern at GiveForward for a year and a half before I was offered a full-time job – proving that persistence and dedication do pay off in the end. Even in a salaried position at GiveForward, I am still challenged to take risks and be creative in my own way. My job is constantly evolving and out of the ordinary (dare I say I work for the best company ever?) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My internship prepared me for the real world: one that has virtual hugs, burrito eating contests, and an experience to last a lifetime.