Eliza Wilkins, a senior at Christopher Dock High School in Lansdale, Pa. spent four days in our office as part of a “job shadow” opportunity. Following are some excerpts from her reflections on the experience:
Kind of like the blue, silver, and orange Metro routes, three themes ran through my time at Mennonite Central Committee’s DC office. Sometimes the tracks, or themes, ran beside each other, and sometimes they interacted; in the end, they all brought me to MCC. Whenever I think of my time with the office, the themes of communication, food, and passionate knowledge will run together, connect, and ultimately bring me back to the value of my experience in this office.
First, communication. I loved all the meetings: the ones inundated with acronyms and the ones that weren’t; the formal and the informal; those in which a creeping sense of hopelessness pervaded and those in which hope was the driving force. Whether there is agreement or disagreement, I think communication is the most valuable tool we have for progress and improvement.
During a debate with my temporary coworkers about Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin Donuts, I realized that there are people who share the same love of food that I have. More importantly, perhaps, I realized the power of it. If you want more people to come to something, make sure there are edibles there. I hope the unifying element of food never changes no matter how old I get.
The final theme maps out a vague route to finding a career and finding it worthwhile. As my dad always says, “First comes the passion, then comes the knowledge.” The five staff members I met at the MCC office were passionate and intelligent, and despite my lack of knowledge, they discussed all kinds of events, issues, and topics with me.
This week, I witnessed the powerful elements that bring people together: food, communication, passion, and knowledge. I learned to embrace every route and its connections because they can lead to a final destination of value. I came out of the Eastern Market Metro stop the first time nervous and unsure of the way to the MCC building. I walk out of the MCC building for the last time amazed at the valuable paths that connect people.
It was a pleasure to host you, Eliza! We wish you all the best in your continued studies.
If you are a high school student interested in exploring a similar opportunity at our office, or a college student wanting to explore an internship, let us know.