As a parks and recreation major, in order to graduate, I have to have two practicums (mini-internships) and an internship. My first internship was a no-brainer, I did my practicum at the place I had worked the past two summers and just used my third summer as a summer job and a school credit in one.
My second practicum wasn't as easy to find. I searched and searched for a job I could have while in school that had a flexible enough schedule for me to still take classes and one that would satisfy that credit so I could still graduate on time. After a long search and many unanswered emails and calls not being returned, I heard back from an arts center that was literally three minutes from my apartment at school.
I hadn't had the best experience with the place that I had originally intended to work for this semester, so I had to find something related to my major, and fast. When the arts center returned my call, I was giddy to say the least. This would be the most perfect job, so close to my apartment and an arts center sounded much more my speed than the place I was working at the time.
I went in for my interview and instantly knew I had found the perfect place. My soon-to-be boss conducted my interview and before I even sat down said, "this interview is just a formality, the ladies in the office liked you so much on the phone, you basically already had the job." How's that for encouragement? She told I wouldn't be paid for my job and I wasn't complaining considering I could walk to work from my apartment and there was no way I could turn that down. Being able to sleep until 30 minutes before work was all I needed to know.
Needless to say, I got the job and two weeks later I started. I came in on that Tuesday morning and my nerves were through the roof. I met the lady with whom I share an office and she seemed a bit skeptical about me. I found out later that she was the lady I had talked to on the phone, so she basically got me the job by telling my boss how great I was, so I was overthinking it.
I took my seat at my desk, thinking nothing of it, and followed the instructions I was given to log on and start researching the project I was going to be working on during my time here. I sat and waited for the WiFi to connect, and waited, and waited. This was the absolute slowest internet I have ever worked with in my life. I poked my head in my boss's office and she said "yep, welcome to working at a non-profit". I chuckled and went back to my desk, not exactly knowing what she meant by that.
I quickly found out what she meant.
My desk that I started off working at was so small that there was only room for my laptop and a cup of pens. My coworker finally mentioned that on the second day and got a tailgate table with a tablecloth and put it across from my desk so that I'd have somewhere with enough room to work.
During my 5 hour workday, I spent the majority of my time waiting for the web pages I was searching for to load. I sent out emails to more artists than I even knew existed and they were all so nice and seemed so appreciative to hear from me.
The part about non-profits that no one tells you is that the people that are a part of that non-profit have such a close-knit relationship and that's really what encourages them to work in this industry. If they were only in it for the money, they'd be a part of something else, because this certainly isn't the place for the money hungry. These people have a passion for people and the people that they are helping through their work,
You see, from my experience, the people that I have worked with in the non-profit industry are the most compassionate people who just want to do good by and for others and expect very little in return, and to me, that is the best kind of person. I couldn't be more thankful to work with a non-profit.