When I walked into the Trinity Tax office, I had no idea what my grandmother had signed me up for. "You have an interview tomorrow with a company called Vita Center as a Social Media Intern." I was laying in bed preparing to go to sleep and before I could get a word out, she had gone back into her bedroom. The next morning as I was getting dressed, my grandmother popped into my room again and said, "Don't forget your resume." I put it inside my laptop bag, along with my old computer. This was the first time I had used the subway this summer, and the first time I took the E train. Somehow I got off on the wrong stop and ended up walking several extra blocks because I didn't want to risk being late by chancing the subway again.
I was still late. By then, my resume had gotten wrinkled inside of my laptop bag because I hadn't thought to put it inside of the actual laptop. I was eating some toast while waiting to meet with the owner of Vita because I had missed breakfast and running around Queens wasn't conducive to eating the food I had bought. When she came to tell me it would be just a few minutes, I was mid-bite, crumbs were all over my mouth, and I was mortified. I swallowed as fast as I could and apologized, sure that this was the worst first impression I had ever made.
When she sat down to interview me, I was nervous, but smiling, with a clean and crumb-free mouth. I pulled out my resume and saw what had happened to it. My heart sank. I kept thinking that it was like a comedy where the main character does everything wrong and the audience laughs except it was all too real. I thought, there's no way I'm going to be working at this place. I learned that her name was Johanna Echeverria, that she had started Vita last year. She looked too young to be the owner of a company. I met Diana and Melissa, who were just as friendly as Johanna, and thought that maybe I had a chance after all.
Somehow I ended up working at this amazing place and it's been the best thing that has happened to me in a while. This summer, I grew. My knowledge, my drive to succeed, my own personal website and blog - that and more came out of Vita. I can honestly say that if I hadn't worked here, I would be worse off than I am now. I'm lucky enough to live in this reality and not that one. I remember going to a networking event the second or third week with Gaby, the Social Media and Administrative Coordinator at an event you can read about here and it definitely goes into my top ten favorite nights since entering semi-adulthood two years ago. I had a highly successful woman, and the one the event was built around (it was her collaborative book project), Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, hold my face and tell me she knew, without a doubt, that I would be successful because of the person I was. It shook me, and inspired me.
To end this rather long post, my last day is on Thursday. By the time this is posted (Friday), I will have spent my last hours in the the office, for the summer at least, and a tiny era will have come to an end. I'm writing this Tuesday, but they'll read it Friday, so here goes - thank you Melissa, Diana, and Gaby (my partner in networking and a really funny, good person) for being so welcoming, honest, and open. Most of all, thank you to JOHANNA of course, for seeing beyond the mess that I was when we first met. Goodbye, for now, and again, all the thanks in the world.