See Ya Later, Engage! Cleveland | The End of an Internship

While most people dread the end of summer, I absolutely love it. Yes, I will miss the lazy days of reading outside, the scorching heat which gave me an excuse to devour an unhealthy amount of ice cream, and the sock tan lines (ok, maybe not the tan lines!). However, when a season comes to an end, self-reflection begins. This is especially true for me with summer, as I go on to complete my senior year at The Ohio State University. I jumped into this summer knowing that it will be my last as a student and I wanted to achieve incredible things. As I wrap up my last week of interning with EC, all the “firsts” are drawn out of my memory as all the “lasts” begin to take place. Unlike those wondering how time has gone by so fast (how is it already August?!), I feel content and proud, knowing that I used all the time to have the best summer of my life!

ClZzi0QVEAEnaHfPrior to interning with Engage! Cleveland, I had no idea how many incredible opportunities are out there for YPs in Cleveland, how many awesome employers support young professionals, and (most importantly!) how critical this nonprofit organization is for the future of Cleveland—attracting, retaining, and engaging young professionals to the area. As a member of the millennial generation myself, if there is one thing I know—and have continued to find out through my internship—about today’s YPs, it is that they spend their time doing what drives them, what excites them, and what inspires them. This overall passion is what drives EC, and it is palpable at events, during YP Week, and within each and every person who is involved with the organization. Leaving the internship, I will miss this the most—constantly being around people who want to be a part of greatness and continue to build on Cleveland’s success.

Cleveland-EngageCleveland-FWDNightclub-ClosingParty-36The past few months have been exciting and rewarding. I learned an immense amount about event planning, the art of communication, and about nonprofit work as a whole.  It was so fun to be “behind the scenes” at events and to really see how in-the-moment some things have to be (expect the unexpected!).  Being able to help with the last couple weeks of YP Week preparation, and then being there to witness the events each day was such a unique experience. Along with all of this, something special happened. I re-discovered the city I have known for 21 years.

Clu9CjxXIAAOyu9I think we can all learn a lot when we become tourists in our own city.  Getting involved—whether that is through volunteering at a nonprofit like E!C, supporting a local business, or simply sight-seeing downtown—builds a sense of pride, a sense of community, and a sense of belonging.  This summer I spent a lot of time with E!C exploring Cleveland and really emphasizing its greatness, and I feel empowered. That is what E!C does—it empowers YPs to use their voice and their talents to leave their mark on Cleveland, and this is so critical in today’s society!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to intern with Engage! Cleveland this summer and to have been able to represent E!C in some small way. I have grown in many positive ways, and I have a newfound confidence in myself and my abilities.  While I am sad to see this journey come to an end, I am so excited and inspired to move on to other endeavors. Engage! Cleveland now has a special place in my heart, and I cannot wait to see all of its future success and accomplishments. I look forward to attending events, supporting the organization, and volunteering in the future.  Thus, this is not a “goodbye”; it’s a “see ya later,” Engage! Cleveland!

-Maria Agostino