As a high school junior with an inadequate resume, arriving at the veterans equity center was an opportunity for fresh experience. I did not know what to expect, I was prepared to carry a briefcase, wear slacks, and make coffee runs. In reality, it was nothing like the movies. For the most part, I sat behind a computer. However, this office was not a typical corporation aiming to stuff their wallets more than any individual would suffice. Instead I gained the satisfaction of working for a non profit organization who benefits others that truly need help.
Veterans displayed allegiance, bravery, and devotion to our country. Therefore Veterans Equity Center was created to offer those veterans benefits they deserve. Benefits such as FVEC, SSI, Disability Compensation, etc. They also offer a lot of events and activities such as karaoke, dancing, arts and crafts, computer classes, and bingo. From my point of view, this gives the seniors something to look forward to. During these events, I usually help out or clean up afterwards. For example at karaoke time, I help with serving tea, make snacks, or when there is a spill, I’ll grab a mop. Besides that, I would help with Food Distribution every thursday. The seniors are usually really cute and funny, you should see their faces when they put the stone fruits into their sacks. Otherwise I mostly file, or work on the computer.
Before this internship I only knew how to print and copy. Who’d knew there be so many functions to a copier machine? There were many things I used to think were trivial, things I assumed I would know how to do. Such as making labels, scanning, converting files to PDF, using excel, and even hole punching had a particular technique. But when it was actually needed in the office, I would fluster. Now thanks to daily repetitions, I consider myself a pro.
Majority of the Internship was not challenging, but if I had to choose it would be two things: assimilating to office protocol, and the language barrier. I consider myself a timid person when it comes to meeting new people. Therefore, when I’m uncertain about something I would be hesitant to ask. Also everyone looks so busy, and I did not want to bother them. Then I would just be left alone to figure it out. But now I learned that it would just be safest to ask, because you might break something if you don’t know how to operate it. As for the language barrier, most of the people are Tagalog speaking. Despite how much I want to help them, it would be hard to decipher what they were saying. Most of the time there it becomes an awkward conversations with confused faces, mumbles, and gestures.
Now that I have completed the internship I have noticed something about myself. This would be something I’d like to improve about myself in the future. My punctuality needs improvement. I am constantly arriving late and I know this is very unprofessional. If I continue this bad habit it will affect me academically and professionally. I know VEC was very lenient about it, but this doesn’t apply to everywhere else. In the following school year, I will be aiming for perfect attendance.
From overhearing the clients that come into our office, I’ve learned that a lot of people in the South of Market are not as privileged as me. I complain about being bloated, when others barely have a can of beans to eat. I shower for an hour sometimes, when other don’t have the luxury to running water. I have a roof over my head, when others sleep on concrete and cardboard. I have over ten pairs of shoes, while others could only afford a pair. I take many things for granted and do not realize how lucky I am. I should really learn to cherish what I already have. As I leave, I will take this lesson to my home and community by telling them all the stories and the truth about the South of Market.
In Conclusion, I have consumed bountiful knowledge here, but this was just the initiation. VEC provided me with a strong foundation to face anything coming my way. I know there is a lot out there for me to explore. As I bid thee farewell, I want to thanks all the staff for being so kind and good luck to everyone else!
By Christine Van