Turning the Page to New Experiences

Turning the Page to New Experiences

By Kailey Mgrdichian | I discovered Hire KC Youth from my school counselor’s email blast. I signed up, completed the badges, and attended the job fair with a hammering heart. I landed an internship position at Turn the Page KC, a nonprofit grade level reading initiative. I’m currently a high school senior at Liberty North High School. Next year I plan to attend the University of Iowa, majoring in English & Creative Writing. I want to be a book editor and author once I graduate.

This is my story.

Turning the Page to New Experiences

Going from a mediocre fast food job to an office internship with actual responsibilities this summer was like learning stick then being asked to pilot a spaceship. It was also the most welcome change I’ve ever had.

I knew I needed to be challenged, being the obsessive overachiever I am, but I never knew how badly I needed it until I was creating presentations on my very first day. Not only was the work challenging, but it was also important. There’s something just a little more validating to seeing your presentation projected on a jumbotron than handing food out a window. The work I did mattered. I was 16 and surviving—even thriving—in a professional workplace environment.

I worked for Turn the Page KC, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the amount of students reading at grade-level. TTPKC worked alongside five other nonprofit startups geared towards education in one office, EduHubKC, in Westport. The total amount of employees in this office could fit inside a classroom.

The small staff meant I was taken seriously and given high-level tasks: opportunities I took in stride. There was some stumbling as to be expected; projects weren’t given rubrics or exact specifications, but I learned to appreciate this total departure from typical high school homework. I was trusted—something not as prevalent when you have to ask permission to use the restroom—and tasks laid their responsibility into my eager hands. In one instance, I researched a raffle prize for the possibility of a scam. If I wasn’t thorough, the winner would lose money thinking they won a false trip to the Caribbean. My findings were accepted as I presented them—no doubt, no double-checking. (The prize was real, what a relief!)

The best part: I got to write. I’ve dreamt of becoming a published book author since middle school, so I jump at any and every chance to put words on a page. Although the project wasn’t a novel, I got to write a script for the big summer event held at the Sprint Center. My words were read to 800 Kansas City kids as my presentation played on the jumbotron and I was only 16, only an intern, and only on my 5th day.

Sure, I get to add experience to my resume: creating presentations, managing social media, recruiting volunteers, package assembly, and data entry, but what you don’t get from that list is how much I grew. I realized during these short six weeks how much more I’m capable of. I understand now through this crash course of professionalism the kinds of accomplishments I can achieve.

This summer has flown by with new people and new experiences. Although I’m sad to end my internship here, I’ll be back next year. With my newfound determination and growth, I’m ready to tackle the next challenge, be it piloting senior year or a spaceship.

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