Is this real life?
Author: Caitlin Plaza
I am still in shock that I will actually be working for one of my favorite nonprofit organizations! I could not be happier that I have been given this amazing opportunity! This is something that I have dreamt of ever since I went on my first Pay It Forward Tour in 2008. I always thought that it would be amazing to work for Students Today Leaders Forever, but I always thought that it would be just out of my reach. Even now, with this being my reality, it is still hard to believe.
When I first moved up to Minneapolis in May I had no idea what to expect. I was not really sure if I was going to like living in Minneapolis, the people here, the weather, and basically everything. I also had no idea what to expect when it came to working in the STLF office. Yes, I have visited the office a couple of times, but I had never worked in the office for a long period of time. I actually had never worked with most of the staff! Needless to say I was kind of scared.
But in reality, I had nothing to be afraid of. I feel in love with Minneapolis right away and the office welcomed me with open arms (which should have been expected, this is STLF). Everyone here was willing to work with me and teach me anything and everything that I did not know. I am so thankful for everyone here on staff. They really took me under their wing and not only taught me what I still needed to learn, but also showed me around the city and made me feel accepted. I started as Summer Staff at the beginning of June. I started working with the Programming Core and began to love everything that I did, especially High School Tours.
In Jenna's last blog post, she touched on the staff culture a little bit, and she was 100% correct when she called the STLF staff a family. This office has such a great environment and I could not imagine anything better than this for my first "big kid" job. I have recently found myself telling people that my job is too fun to be a real job. And that is absolutely true. From the sticker charts, kickball tournaments, staff outings, Albert our mascot, bingo, and nicknames, there is always something going on in the office and I absolutely love it.
I am super excited and still slightly nervous about starting my new position as full time staff, but I feel that Jenna and the rest of the staff has provided me with everything that I need to succeed. The transition process from summer staff to full time staff has gone very smooth and I cannot express how happy I am to be here and have the ability to work for an organization that I have held so close to my heart for the past four years.
Here are some fun facts about me so that you can get to know me better!
I absolutely love to dance, I am from Illinois, I am strangely good at untangling things (weird), I have been on 9 Pay It Forward Tours, everyone in the office calls me Bear, I graduated from Illinois State University (Gooo you Redbirds!), my favorite food is strawberries, July is the best month ever because that's when the fireflies come out, and I LOVE traveling!!
Now it's your turn! Tell me about yourself and I hope we will get the chance to meet on a tour or at a conference if we haven't yet.