My personal learning experience has been significant during my co-op term. After finishing my co-op at Home, Inc., I notice I have become very comfortable speaking to strangers. More than just being comfortable speaking to others on the phone, I also believe that I have a more professional “tone”. I believe this was a result of listening to and learning from my co-workers. I am also better able to type — this is mostly a result of spending an average of eight hours a day in front of a computer. This co-op was also an excellent opportunity for me to be able to budget my time, as well as improve my organization.
However, aside from these technical skills, I have learned more about non-profit organizations than I could have ever imagined. There are so many aspects associated with non-profits, and I firmly believe that I would have never been able to learn so much were it not for this co-op opportunity.
In an immediate sense, this co-op allowed me to take time to realize and focus on goals for my life. It was an excellent way for me to essentially step back from the hectic cycle of part time employment and school and allow me to focus on other interests in life life, as well as do significant life planning. Prior to this co-op, my plan for each co-op was just to work somewhere that I was paid to work full-time. However, I have realized that my concern shouldn’t be making money, but rather, building experiences. This co-op has shaped ideas for future co-ops.
In a long term sense, this co-op has allowed me to realize that no matter what I think, I haven’t had enough different experiences in my life. I have considered doing a year of VISTA service after college — and I believe that it would be a great experience. As a career, I am still interested in the housing market, and I think that this co-op has just been a slight taste of what I could potentially experience.
I am very thankful for this opportunity. I believe that the Miller Fellowship is simply an amazing program. There is a definite difference between working at a for-profit organization, and a non-profit organization. In the area of professional development, there is no substitution for a non-profit organization.. The Miller Fellowship allows non-profit organizations like Home, Inc. to have expanded capacity. These organizations would have NEVER had this were it not for this grant. My relationship with my bosses are ideal for growth: there is an external funding source. While this does not mean I am not expected to work, it frees up the expectation of my labor and allows some degree of flexibility. This allows me to learn other skills. The organization gains capacity at no cost, while I gain valuable skills.