I walked out of our orientation fully motivated and anxious to start my summer at INCREASE CDC. As I was strolling through the parking lot, my sense of elation came to a sudden halt as I reached into my pocket expecting to find car keys, but came away empty-handed. Immediately, I pulled out my cell phone, pretending to be in control of the situation, while I erratically retraced my steps. After several fruitless searches, I went back to my car and there they were — my keys were sitting in the driver’s seat. I sighed and shook my head in disbelief as I had managed to successfully pull off one of the more impressive day-one debacles in modern times.
Thankfully, after several distress calls, both my roommate and girlfriend executed this rescue mission with Usain Bolt-like speed, dropping off a spare set of keys and slinging some well deserved jokes at my expense.
I jumped in my car and headed for the second half of my orientation at INCREASE. I did my best to laugh off the past hour while listening to the soothing melodies of the Pandora “Enya” station. Ten minutes of mid-90’s ambient music helped ease the nerves considerably.
The welcoming at INCREASE was incredible. Carmen, Deonna, and Mr. Carter treated me as one of the family from the minute I stepped through the door. I was introduced to dozens of people, participated in productive meetings, and was even asked for input on proposals essential to the future planning of the organization. I was both surprised and invigorated by the autonomy in which I have been granted to see my project through.
The next 9 weeks are as equally important to INCREASE as they are to me. This fellowship truly is not just another internship. This fellowship is a chance to impact an organization in a lasting, meaningful way.
I am driving my fellowship experience. I am just grateful it doesn’t require keys.