August 29, 2010 - 9:00 PM
Well, I suppose it has technically been about one week and two days now since I have been back from Atlanta. People might be thinking that I have spent this time running around, hanging out with everyone I know, and causing a general ruckus throughout the beautiful city of Eugene. However, not to disappoint, but I have mostly just spent it getting my house organized.
Usually when I go on one of my summer adventures, I come back just in the knick of time to take a quick week trip back home to California to visit my family and then immediately start school. It isn't the most ideal situation, as I spend the next three weeks of fall term a mess, trying to get my house cleaned up and organized and ready for the term that has already started.
Therefore, this summer, coming back early, I find myself in an odd state of cleaning heaven. In fact, I don't think that my house has ever been this clean and organized since I moved in. I am a firm believer in the concept that the cleanliness of my house is directly proportional to the mental clarity of my brain. Come finals week when I find myself with little time to tidy up, it just makes sense, since my mind is already a little cluttered with stress. Having this time to actually get my house all squared away before school is amazing and offers me with endless potential to start the school year!
Ok, I realize that this may possibly be the dorkiest and most over the top blog ever, but it is such a big difference for me. I have decided that as I plan into the future, I must keep in mind to leave myself plenty of time to wind down if at all possible.
With my place just how I want it to start the school year, I am ready to head home to California to spend a few weeks with my family. It is nice to have more time to go home and relax as well instead of having to make a long weekend trip. I will be prepared when I return for what seems to be looking like a pretty swell fall term 2010!
August 28, 2010 - 8:30 PM
This post is a dedication that will most likely fall short of explaining how wonderful the person it is dedicated to truly is. Sometimes you just have to meet someone, be in his or her presence to truly understand how extraordinary that person is. Kate Brown is one of these people. Try as words may, they will never fully capture her.
Who is Kate Brown? You may be asking right now. That's a good question and yet another one that I'm not sure Kate nor I could ever really answer. However, in simple terms, Kate Brown is my college BFF. We met in the luxurious Bean East dorms our freshman year and have been friends ever since, through all of the different directions we have taken. Kate was a spring 2010 graduate from the Journalism department, unlike me who decided to stick around another year. Although I believe we both made the right choices for ourselves, I sure will miss Kate next year.
This weekend, I drove up to Portland to spend one last night with my buddy before she boarded a plane to Boston. Kate will be attending Boston University to get her Masters in Fine Arts. It was really great to be able to see her off on her next leg of the journey.
Time spent with Kate is always mellow. After dinner with her family, we went downtown for one last VooDoo Donuts run. It was nice to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of downtown Portland with such a good friend. We drove around the city a bit and took a break at McMennamin's. What I enjoyed about our night was that it was just like any other, simple and fun. There were no formal "going away" rituals, no sob sessions, just a great time with a great person.
I think that one of the best parts about coming to college is finding those few people amongst the 20,000 other students that you can really connect with. Kate was certainly one of those people for me and I am so excited to hear about all of what she does in Boston this next two years. I can't wait to visit her and have her visit back home. I hope Boston is ready for this one! I have a hunch she'll leave a significant mark.
Thank you, Kate Brown, for all of the good times these past four years! You gave meaning to my college experience. Good luck in BOSTON!
August 22, 2010 - 2:50 PM
I am a firm believer in the fifth year. In fact, I could not have imagined my college career without it. I am ready for this final lap. I have a lot to look forward to, including writing my thesis, getting more connected with organizations in Eugene, and getting to relax a little more into the next transition of my life. The only worry I really had about my fifth year was, of course, the funding. As the price of higher education continues to rise, it is easy to feel the pressure to just get in and get out. However, because of generous donors, I am able to complete this very important year in my college experience with less stress from financial hardship.
For the 2010-11 academic year, I was awarded The LaRocco Family Scholarship. I got to read a little bit about the scholarship and it turns out that the LaRocco family decided to start the scholarship after their daughter had attended the UO. They are a family based out of my home state, California. I am honored to be able to represent them next year through my studies.
This is the first year that I have received a scholarship where I get to correspond with my donors. I am very excited with the opportunity to be able to update them on what their generous donation is allowing me to do. I will have so much to share with them this year. After working in the development department this summer with The Carter Center, I know how important these types of relationships are. Donors are more than what they give to an organization. They are a friend and a person wanting to be involved in something they feel passionately about. I want to be able to reach out to them and acknowledge them for their wonderful gift.
I really hope that I get the opportunity to give back some day and offer a student the same chance that the LaRocco family is offering me. I am very grateful.
August 21, 2010 - 8:00 PM
I wasn't sure at first whether I should really title this post "Home." For each of the past three summers, I have traveled somewhere new and created a sense of home in whatever location I was. When I'm back on the West Coast, I have four years of life accumulated in the cozy city of Eugene, as well as my life's history resting in the coastal fog of Northern California. So, what have I concluded? Home is wherever I am. Home is a place you can return to. Greece, New York, and Georgia are all homes to me because I know them; I have grounding in each of them. However, right now I am back in the Pacific Northwest. It is my home. It is a place I have returned to time and time again. It always takes me back, wraps me with familiarity, and comforts me as I plan the next leg of the journey. So, as the title would suggest, I am home.
It is always a bit tough to get used to everything again. I'm starting to see familiar faces and return to favorite eateries. I'm working tirelessly at ridding my house of the cobweb buildup it experienced while I was gone. Oh, and I'm starting to remember that I was supposed to be working on my thesis this summer. I'm sure this will be discussed in my blog at length at a later date. Procrastination is key...right? Ok, maybe not, but I feel a need to get re-nestled into the fourth floor of the Knight Library before I can start getting some real work done on it again.
Although I find myself with a mild nostalgia for that southern humidity, when I stepped off my plane in the Eugene airport, I was filled with gratitude as I took a deep breath of crisp, Pacific Northwest air. It was a perfect temperature, somewhere around 78 to 80 degrees with a tender breeze and as I walked, I no longer felt like I could feel every inch of air for it was light and free of the dense humidity I had grown to know. However, a little more unexpected was the lightning storm I was welcomed by. It was as if the South was calling me back as I watched lightning in the hills light up the darkening sky.
I have just finished my first full week back and it has certainly been great getting to see my friends again and getting to enjoy this absolutely perfect weather. I have never really spent a summer in Eugene before, so it is very nice to be here for some of it. I have a feeling though that I need to enjoy this downtime while it lasts because come fall term, I can already tell that I'm going to have to hit the ground running.
Right now, I'm hanging around visiting with a friend before she leaves to graduate school in Boston and then it is time to go home once again and see all my family in California. It is good to be back. Different, but certainly nice.
August 14, 2010 - 6:40 PM
As the final weeks of my internship approached, I decided that I wanted to make sure to really get to know some of the staff that I've been working with all summer. It is easy to not get to know some of The Carter Center staff very well because everyone is kind of in their own section and working on their own projects. It is important to make that effort to get out and talk to people. Therefore, throughout my last couple of weeks, I set up lunches with various Carter Center staff in order to learn a little bit more about what their roles are at the Center and to see how they got there. I had lunch with four different people and each was a great experience. I am very happy that I decided to do this before I left.
The first lunch I had was with one of the Gift Officers in the Major Gifts department. It is her job to travel to her assigned states and meet in person with our donors and potential donors. She cultivates relationships with the donors and eventually does "the ask" for a donation. I have heard her throughout my internship on the other side of my cubicle wall making phone call after phone call to set up lunch and coffee dates in preparation her trips. After having lunch with her, I could tell that she is the perfect person for the job. She is very enthusiastic, friendly, and easy to talk to. I could see donors being very comfortable with her. I think that to be in that part of development, it is imperative to be personable like she is. After having lunch with her, she invited me over to her desk several times to show me different things about what she was doing so that I could learn as much as I could. It was great that she did this.
My second lunch was with the Chief Development Officer (CDO) for Major Gifts. She actually works from San Francisco and flies into Atlanta about once a month to connect with what is going on at the Center. Like the Gift Officer, she was very personable and open to talking. I think my favorite part about talking with her was how much she really loved her job. She told me that any challenges she ever experienced were worth it because she honestly loved what she did. She came from a lot of experience doing fundraising for universities and told me that she enjoyed doing it for The Carter Center much more because it is an organization that she can see really making positive changes in the world for those who need it most. She really believes in its mission. Her thoughts reminded me of the nonprofit classes I have taken through the PPPM department at the UO. Each class always seemed to drive home the idea that you work for a nonprofit because you whole-heartedly believe in all that it does. If you can't truly get behind what a nonprofit is doing, then it isn't a good match for you. It was nice to have lunch with our CDO and see how passionate she is about the Center's work. That is how I'd like to be for a nonprofit someday. Our CDO also set me up with a later meeting with a staff member in the mental health department after learning about my interest in homelessness. This was a great connection to make.
My third lunch was with the Director of Educational Programs. She is the main person that oversees the interns. I think that she has a really amazing position, as she gets to interact with so many amazing students and recent graduates. It seems like such a fun job getting to organize events for interns. I would like to have a position someday that allows me to interact with people like her position does. It was nice getting to learn more about her and share some of my internship experience with her. She has always been a great resource to the interns.
My final lunch was with the Vice President of Operations. I was very humbled that someone of his position would find the time to have lunch with an intern. He has a very interesting background and I really enjoyed hearing his stories. He grew up in Plains, Georgia just like President Carter did and actually used to be babysat by Miss Lillian Carter. He told me about his experiences campaigning for President Carter, working in the White House, and ending up at The Carter Center. He also told me that one of the best things he ever did was take out a loan after he graduated from college to just go traveling all throughout Europe before starting to work at the White House. I also enjoyed that he knew about work that I had done and seemed very grateful for my contribution to the Center this summer.
If I could change one thing about how I went about my internship this summer, I would have gone back and started having lunch with different staff members earlier on so that I could get to know even more of them. It made me feel more connected to the organization and helped me to get a better understanding of why people come to work for The Carter Center.