In what seems to have happened in the blink of an eye, yet another amazing week working at the Ohio Association for Nonprofit Organizations (OANO) has come to a close. While I’m quickly gaining knowledge regarding the nonprofit sector and the various intricacies of OANO, I think my most significant growth this summer will relate to the things I am learning about myself.
This summer has challenged me, forcing me to reconsider many of my former ways of thinking to adapt to my new and constantly changing environment. Work has allowed me to open my heart to Columbus, seeing the city in a way that wasn’t possible from inside of the Ohio State bubble. As I’ve traveled to various conferences throughout the state, become acquainted with the unique (and more importantly, delicious) stores and shops surrounding my office, and attended fun excursions and festivals, such as Monday’s voyage to Huntington Field to cheer on the Columbus Clippers, I’ve been able to connect with the city in an entirely different way, becoming comfortable and incredibly fond of its quirky and zestful nature.
Aside from my newfound appreciation for the majesty of Columbus, I’ve also become increasingly aware of the way I function as a professional, as well as the goals and desires I have for my future professional aspirations.
While I’ve always known with absolute confidence that I want to spend my life helping others, I’ve always struggled to define the capacity in which I would do so. My problem was that I truly wanted to help everyone– one day I would wake up passionate about the plight of homeless children in our community and the following night, I would fall asleep fretting about the status of our depleted ecosystem. Working at OANO, I’ve come to quickly understand that one of the best ways to achieve that holistic and far-reaching impact is to serve as a system of support for nonprofits themselves. By acquainting nonprofits with the Standards for Excellence and teaching them how to remain ethical and accountable within their operations, I’ve been able to assist an incredible range of organizations in mission achievement, consequently fulfilling my desire to address a wide variety of social issues in return.
My time with OANO has certainly opened my mind to a potential career in consulting, or even a job working with the Standards themselves, as I’ve been able to recognize the limitless potential nonprofits can have once they’re equipped with the right materials. Most importantly, this summer has shown me a career in the nonprofit sector doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to one social issue, but rather, can be designed to address a variety of problems.
As the summer goes on, I anticipate the continuation of my journey of self-discovery and growth. While I won’t know for certain all the ways my fellowship experience will continue to impact me, I can already see that the changes from these past four weeks will influence me for years to come.