Summer is a wonderful time, here in Washington, D.C. I love watching the city come to life after the cold season passes. Streets are filled with professionals, families, street performers, and tourists from all around the world. What better place to spend your summer? As a Frank Karel fellow, this has been an overlapped experience between the fellowship and the hands on experience as an intern. Getting the opportunity to work at the Special Olympics during such an eventful time frame has been quite an eye opening experience. The World Games run every two years, rotating between summer and winter games. This year the summer world games are being held in Los Angeles, C.A.. The games feature 7,000 athletes from 177 countries.
Since the World Games are being held here in the U.S., the workload for those here at the headquarters is dense. I am not a Communications major, which I quickly realized when I was asked about writing a press release. “I have to write a press release????” I said to myself. I don’t know the first thing about writing a press release, could I do this? After a day of research and self-education I decided that, “YES I CAN”. I was not going to allow this learning curve to stop me!! I applied to be a Frank Karel Fellow and I am going to prevail through this frightening, overwhelming, yet exciting and exhilarating summer.
First day on the job was one, I’ll never forget. Getting a tour by a blind man was not something I ever thought I could say until Monday June 15th 2015. A lovely man named Ben took me around the office. As we followed his guiding light or stick I was introduced to each member of the Special Olympic staff. I was completely blown away by his thoroughness and impressive detailed memory. What an incredible way to quickly make me feel at home. After the tour I was pleasantly surprised to see how many Special Olympic athletes were employed at the Special Olympics headquarters. What an excellent way to set an example to embrace individuals with intellectual disabilities within the workplace.
A personal realization that I had after a week working: Being a full-time student means I’ve spent many late nights working on homework assignments. Being a full time employee means I spend many nights in bed before 9 and that Mondays really are the toughest. I was wiped out my first week, physically and mentally. Thankfully by week two, I was up to speed and no longer coming home like I had run a marathon. Who knew sitting in front of a computer all day could be so exhausting? Either way I enjoy being busy and am so thankful for coffee!!!
After the first week I got an official cubicle and I love it. I felt super official here at the Special Olympics. This quickly became my work zone, where I spend pretty much my entire day. One of my assignments was to change the format of a few forms from PDF to word, using the Special Olympics template. I was not exactly sure how to do this, as I am not very tech savvy. Luckily, through the use of
google, trial and error with a side determination I conquered, and completed the task. I can honestly say I feel like I know how to use word 100X better than I did a month ago.
On a fun note, the Special Olympics held an event where staff and athletes along with their families shared cake, while getting to know one another. I really enjoyed this event, meeting some of the local athletes and getting to know their families made the work I do feel more personal. During this event there were cheerleaders, this is the first year the world games will have cheerleaders attend the games. Their excitement filled the room!
I can say my overall experience these past weeks have been pretty awesome. Even though at times I am a little overwhelmed and lost, I’ve realized it is all part of the growing process. I am pleased with everything that I have learned and I look forward to sharing these ideas and thoughts with the other fellows. I hope to continue learning over the next few weeks, so that I can truly embrace the entire experience.