Today was my first day working for JDRF, and if I’m being completely honest, I loved every minute of it. The people are kind and friendly, the work is enjoyable and meaningful to me, and I feel very comfortable after just one day in the office.
Hannah, Jenni, and I arrived at JDRF this morning at 9:30. We were greeted by Jennifer O’Neill, the National Manager of Learning and Development. She gave us a very brief tour of one of the two floors (14th and 15th) that JDRF uses on 26 Broadway. Let me tell you: this place is a MAZE. I’m going to have to wander around the next few days just to get my bearings about what’s what and who’s who. When we came to the 15th floor, we split ways. Hannah and Jenni will be working in the marketing department, while I will be in the communications department just across the hall. While I wasn’t expecting to be separated from my friends so soon, it turned out I had nothing to be nervous about!
After meeting Kady, my boss for the summer, I was shown to the cubicle next to her, which will be mine for the summer! Complete with a welcoming postcard from the office, t shirts, and a folder stuffed full with information about JDRF and how the communications department works. Everything from JDRF’s mission statement to specific style and usage tips on writing about diabetes. So many details to learn! It almost felt like the first day of school all over again – you see your classroom for the first time, meet your professor, and get handed the syllabus that is chock-full of information. I love it. Seriously.
(Pardon the iPhone quality photos)
After meeting everyone in my department (Paige, Brian, Lindsey, Emily, Ann, Jody, and a few other names that I can’t remember!), Kady gave me my first little project. For about an hour or so, I took some feedback provided by various chapters about a particular outreach event and consolidated it into a spreadsheet to make the data more organized, accessible, and able to be analyzed. A pretty nice, easy-going project to get my first morning started!
At noon, the communications and marketing departments hosted a welcome lunch for the three of us interns. Jody treated us all the some delicious Middle Eastern food: yummy pita bread, hummus, veggies, falafel, and chicken. The hour-long lunch went quickly, as I was meeting and having good conversation with a number of different people! We talked about books, biking, and living in the city, to name a few. Everyone was so friendly and eager to get to know us; it was very encouraging and welcoming.
After lunch, the three of us got our pictures taken for our ID badges: it’s official. And after that, Jody took us to meet the President & CEO, Jeffrey Brewer. I was not expecting to have the privilege of meeting the CEO on my first day! While it was a brief introduction, I was honored and excited to meet him.
After finding our way back through the labyrinth of cubicles, I relaxed for a little bit before heading to the conference room for our two-hour HR orientation meeting with Jennifer. It was actually kinda fun! We were given ANOTHER big folder of information (actually kind of my secret guilty pleasure… I love information. I get giddy when I get handed a big packet of things to learn. Weird, I know). For the next two hours we went over JDRF’s organizational goals, the basic facts, the lingo and common acronyms used around the office, the dress code, LOTS of paperwork, and some helpful tips about working in the office. It was a very helpful, informative two hours. I officially feel oriented 🙂
…And now to read through the pages and pages of paperwork… (Again, secretly excited for this! I’m a bit of a dork.)
After the meeting, Kady told me a little bit about the various outreach projects I will be helping her with this summer. I’m so excited! I began working a little bit on updating some files to include the language that JDRF is trying to focus on: Turning Type One Into Type None. LOVE IT. JDRF’s goal is is not only to find a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D), but to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until they achieve a world without T1D. Such a clever and effective tagline. It’s really exciting to see the changes in JDRF unfold! I’ll be working on a variety of things this summer, all of which are new and exciting. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow!
After work, Hannah, Jenni, and I went right next door to Stir, a diner with some really good, reasonably priced food. We ate, talked about our first days, what we’re excited about, and the craziness of our blood sugar levels throughout the day. (Both Jenni and I had lows in the middle of the night, and Hannah was low this morning going to work). It really is nice to be friends with other people who have type 1 diabetes. There’s an instant bond and connection that comes with meeting someone else with T1D. For example, Kady (my boss) also has T1D. When she saw my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) she told me that she has an extra charger in her drawer in addition to tons of sugary snacks in case her sugars go low. She said I was welcome to use the drawer if I ever needed it. It feels great to be working somewhere that so easily understands who I am and what I need. I don’t have to feel ashamed or out of place talking about blood sugar levels, middle-of-the-night lows, or bolusing for lunch.
Let’s just say I’m pretty content with life right now. This summer will be full of experiencing and learning new things!