DISCLAIMER: I hope you like to read, because I like to write. And I wrote a lot. A lot, a lot. But look! There’s photos at the bottom to look forward to!
I officially have one week of experience working for JDRF National in New York City! I feel pretty accomplished and ready to take on the next six weeks of this internship. This week has been absolutely full of gaining more experience, learning new things, coming up with new ideas, and lots and lots of work.
Before I share with you all what I’ve been doing this week, I’d like to share this recent article from Relevant about the importance of having a Sabbath day.
Though I’ve only been working for one week, this is my very first week working full-time ANYWHERE. Yes, I’ve been a full-time student and yes, I’ve had summer jobs (though they were all part-time). When I was in high school, my parents were very adamant about encouraging me to stay focused on school. “Your job is being a student,” they told me. So, this is the first time in my life that I am taking 40 hours out of my week to devote to something entirely outside of myself. Yes, I guess you could say I’m gaining experience and developing my professional self, but these are 40 hours that I’m not spending on my personal self and my personal self wants to do all day long (which is basically read a lot of books). I’m finding that when I come back to my room at 5:30 each night, I have little time and energy to spend doing the things I usually spend all day doing: reading, writing, talking to loved ones. Let alone time and energy to do the things that NEED to be done: grocery shopping, laundry, dinner eating, exercising, etc.
In the midst of this sudden busyness in my life, I am desperately desiring rest. Even though I know this is just the beginning. I see so much more value in time than I did before. Spending 40 hours working each week is forcing me to prioritize. It’s pushing me to think about how I use my time. It’s forcing me to spend my time well and use it efficiently, because there isn’t much of it. Knowing that there is one day set aside for rest and worship is helping me work even harder and use my time even better. Here is a quick quote from the article, and then I will continue about my internship:
Rest transforms work. Taking a sabbath is a discipline, not a habit. The Sabbath rarely conveniently lands on a day when you won’t have work to do. Resting means an intentional effort throughout the week to get everything done before the Sabbath. Because of my discipline, I’ve become a lot more productive throughout the week. Each week, I feel like I’ve earned my day of rest. Oddly enough, on the Sabbath, I actually crave doing work. It causes me to look forward to doing work once again.
I am definitely looking forward to work on Monday already, even though I haven’t truly had my day of rest yet 🙂
BUT I am thankful for the weekend. And to have Matt visiting me this weekend. (insert happy girl squeal here)
Now onto the meat of this post:
I already gave a short synopsis of my first day here. But that was just the beginning. Instead of writing extensively about what I did each day this first week (that could take hours!), let me give you some highlights, reflections, funny moments, and things that stood out to me this week:
- I learned that I am a very efficient worker! I have been given various projects to work on from a number of people in the communications department, so at times I feel like I’m being thrown something from every direction every minute. But it keeps my day interesting and fun! One task I was given this week was to update some acknowledgement letters. When people donate to JDRF, the chapters send out thank you letters, acknowledgement letters, etc. to honor those gifts. There are dozens of different types of letters: donations for walks, for galas, for golf tournaments, for memorial gifts, for online gifts, etc. I was given each of these documents and told to update them with JDRF’s current messaging and core mission. I emailed them back to Sara (the woman who sent them to me), and when noticing how quickly I edited the first ones, she immediately sent me more to work on! And then more again! I met with her on Thursday, and she told me she was very impressed at how well I did with so little instruction and how quickly I did the job. Yeah, there were a few things she had to edit further, but “very good job.” 🙂
- People talk fast and have lots of questions! I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on a few meetings and conference calls, and let me tell ya, people come prepared and they come ready to ask their questions. And there I am, sitting on the edge of my seat (while everyone else seems to be leaning back… something I haven’t quite caught onto yet), frantically scribbling down notes. I am continually impressed by all the work these people at JDRF do everyday and how efficient they are!
- So much updating. A lot of the work I have been doing this week revolves around a Q&A document that is used to answer the most commonly asked questions to JDRF from the public via the email@example.com email address. The 60-some page document is about half an inch thick when printed (not joking) and needs some serious updating. Some questions are no longer relevant, others need to be added, and some just need to plain be deleted. And the entire thing needs to be organized into new categories. It’s insane. But, it’s work that needs to be done. I spent most of Thursday reorganizing questions, reformatting, copying, pasting, and hyperlinking like a crazy woman. Boy did I feel accomplished when I was finally finished. Next week will consist of actually tracking down the updated answers to put into the new document.
- Intranet is really cool. So JDRF has an intranet called OnePlace. It’s basically a site that houses all the information that a JDRF employee would need. Resources, documents, updates, need-to-knows, etc. I could spend hours perusing this site. There’s videos, logos, press releases, news responses, so many cool things!
- I write a news segment – all by myself! (Sort of). Every day, T1D in the News is posted on OnePlace for JDRF employees to see and it is also distributed to a list of email subscribers. T1D in the News is a document consisting of what’s new (that day) in the world of diabetes: in research, awareness, everyday living, fundraising, etc. Before I arrived, T1D in the News was Paige’s responsibility. Because Paige has recently been handed a lot more additional responsibilities, she is delegating T1D in the News to me! Basically, every morning I search the Internet for news on a variety of terms: type one diabetes, JDRF, insulin pumps, blood glucose, etc. I read through the articles, decide which ones are relevant and reputable, and compile a list of the 9-15 articles or blogs that I think will be most important for others to know. I then compile summaries on each article or blog and place that under the link. This creates one whole document that is then posted on OnePlace and distributed to its subscribers. It’s a really cool, fun process! There’s so much news everyday about type 1 diabetes to which I was absolutely oblivious. And there are so many diabetes bloggers out there! The online community for people with diabetes is impressive. Seriously. I’ve spent a few hours just searching around on the different blogs out there, and it’s so fun to read… I’ve even discovered some cool products and books for people with diabetes while I was at it! It’s been a lot of fun getting to start my morning reading about what’s new for type 1 diabetes.
- It’s fun to dress up for work every day. And it feels so good to put on yoga pants at the end of the day. Seriously. If any of you reading this know me, you know that I always like to look nice. When I entered college, I didn’t own a single pair of sweat pants. I wore jeans everyday. I wear skirts, I wear dresses, I wear jewelry. So naturally, it’s really fun for me to dress up for work. But at the same time, I have never been so relieved to change at the end of the day. I get up to my room between 5:30 and 6:00, and the first thing I do is put on a t shirt (a comfy free one from JDRF, by the way) and yoga pants and head up to the rooftop to unwind. I never thought I would enjoy loungewear as much as I do now.
- I am now a true NYC commuter. I read on the subway! I’m not glued to my iPhone app telling me how many more stops I have. I know the order of the stops on my commute to work. I have conquered the subway!!!
- Office kitchens are wonderful. Free coffee and tea whenever I need it? Yes please! …and sooooo many flavors…. 🙂
- People (other than my Facebook friends) read my blog! While Paige was showing me how to search for blogs for T1D in the news, I noticed that my blog came up! I giddily pointed it to her, and she commented, “Oh yeah, I’ve been reading it! Back when you posted a while ago, I was doing T1D in the News and found it and sent it to all the comm department, like ‘Hey! Guys! I think this is our new intern!'” …oh my gosh. I’m gonna have to make sure this blog is a bit more well written if people in the comm department are reading it! In addition, I was emailing chapters today to gather feedback about their TypeOneNation Summits (a conference event that JDRF chapters put on), and one point person emailed me back saying she read my blog! So cool!
- I don’t feel out of place having diabetes. While there aren’t gobs and gobs of people working for JDRF that have diabetes, there are two others in my department that do. Kady and Brian. And there’s the other two SWD interns, Hannah and Jenni. And even though not everyone I interact with has diabetes, they at least understand it. They don’t look at me funny when I pull out my Dexcom, pump, or meter. Or when I pull a juice box out of my purse. It’s totally normal. It’s comfortable. It’s great.
- There are always 50+ tourists outside my building because of that darn bull. Hahaha but seriously!! Every morning when I get off the subway, there’s a crowd of tourists taking pictures by that bull! And every evening when I open the door to leave the building, there is still a crowd of tourists taking more pictures with that bull. It’s like there’s a continuous flow of people who want to take their prized photo by it and…behind it… I guess I’ll just get used to it.
- Conveniently, there is an ice cream truck right outside the building right around lunch time. Yum. Hannah, Jenni, and I went outside today to enjoy the weather, and we got some ice cream! Photo below 🙂
- Cubicles are boring if there aren’t any decorations. I didn’t know I would get to have my own little cubicle this summer, so I brought absolutely no photos, inspirational quotes, or anything to tack up on the walls. Consequently, my cubicle is quite drab. I’m gonna have to liven it up soon!!
- I have never used email so often. So I always thought that I was an avid email checker. I am notoriously quick for emailing people back. But geez do people email a lot at work! There are so many emails back and forth between people: can you do this, can you look at that, just a reminder about this, oh, and don’t forget about that too. SO much communication. Outlook is such a life saver.
- Co-workers are fun to talk to. Kady likes to ask about Matt, Paige talks about books she’s reading and fun things to do in the city, and Brian talks about riding his bike all over the city. It’s fun! I feel like I have new friends and not just people I work with. Paige even suggested a book called Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle. I started reading it and it is fascinating! I hadn’t really given much thought to what living with diabetes was like before things like shots, pumps, and meters were invented and available. A man named Frederick Allen treated people with diabetes by essentially starving them, keeping them on a strict diet of often 400 calories or less. And that was just to help them live maybe a few months or years longer than the prognosis: one year to live after being diagnosed. Talk about humbling and inspiring gratitude. This book is making me thankful and awe-filled with each page.
- My days go by quickly! As I mentioned earlier, I have been given many different projects from a number of different people this week. It definitely keeps me busy and before I know it, it’s 5 o’ clock! Let me give you a glimpse of what I’ve been working on that makes my hours speed by:
- T1D in the News every day
- Updating acknowledgement letters
- Proofreading and editing Volunteer Spotlights
- Reorganizing 60-some page documents like the Q&A… oh boy.
- Sitting in on meetings about Speakers Bureaus, Young Leadership Committee (YLC), and Type One Nation Summits
- Creating surveys, emailing chapters for feedback, and putting said feedback into spreadsheets
- Researching competition online
- Looking for new diabetes blogs to add to our list of regulars to look at for T1D in the News
- Getting familiar with JDRF’s website and the discussion groups on typeonenation.org
So much to do and so much fun!
So there you have it. A few tidbits of my first week working full-time as a communications intern for JDRF. I’ve had a blast so far and have been so encouraged and built up along the way. Looking forward to the next six weeks of turning Type One into Type None (which, if you think about it, would put JDRF out of business if accomplished… ironic?)
Enjoy your weekend! I know I’ll enjoy mine 🙂 Looking forward to a weekend with Matt in the city!
Until next week,
-Amy (Enjoy the photos below from my time so far in New York!)
View from the Top of the Rock
While taking a food tour of Greenwich Village, I saw this man across the street playing the accordion.
This also happened on the Greenwich Village food tour… mmmmm Molly’s cupcakes 🙂
The view from The Markle’s rooftop… where I like to spend my evenings after work.
Ice cream break with Hannah (and Jenni, taking the photo)!
Strand Books. This place goes on forever…
The Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.
On Top of the Rock!