By working with a client in this class and in another, I began to see the aspects of a career I long for. It has been a journey, from my freshman year up until now upon graduating, to find something that brings my heart joy as well as utilizes my talents and degree. My experience with different tasks, as far as executing ideas and consistently promoting a client’s awareness through social media, has awoken the part of me that feels needed and important. Especially since the clients I have worked with this semester are nonprofits. Nonprofits have such an extremely awesome role within our communities. I cannot speak for all, but for most, they have a great mission and a huge impact on the surrounding communities. I have learned how vital they are everywhere. By volunteering all the things that I could offer them (i.e. my talents, money, time, creativity, work) I felt like I was making a difference in other people as well as myself. Helping others sounds like a cliché trait that people say they love to do, but when it comes to doing things that I’m good at or something I love I cannot imagine doing anything else. It is the communities that have more appreciation for all that you do, whereas consumers (that work closely with companies that are for profit) who are spending money do not. Consumers are at times much more inconsiderate, ungrateful, and unappreciative of any little thing because they believe their money is truly important.
When I chose to work with the Rampantry I had no idea what I was getting into. I immediately assumed it would be lots of work and something that would inconvenience me a whole lot. I thought I would end up becoming very frustrated by having to drive to some place all the time (I live off campus so it would be a pain), stock shelves for them, and “ring out” people like a cashier. I thought I would succumb to hating the word “volunteer” because I envisioned being used and abused…for a lack of better words. I thought we would be their puppy dogs for all the busy work that they needed done and we would gain “experience” of working there by doing that. However, none of this was the case. It surprised me how open-minded Terrence was to everyone’s ideas and how he encouraged us to think of more and more. I took notes of some of the things he was looking for within his organization’s needs first (http://rampages.us/sdixon/category/client-work/page/2/). After I wrote those things down, I began to imagine how I could creatively offer an idea that would benefit one of the organization’s needs and how I could volunteer with it. When he mentioned that his top concern was to increase awareness, I immediately thought, “Okay, food + awareness. Students need to know about what foods they offer and where they are located. As a student, what would make me want to go to the Rampantry? What type of advertising would get me to come? Outdoor advertising would be fun.” And the questions kept flowing, while the idea kept expanding until one idea made me think of people tasting the food. That always makes a person come back or get enticed to come just like at a restaurant. They just need to get in the door first. And sampling popped into my head after that. Handing out small samples of food will attract anyone! The idea was a hit! Terrence loved it! I loved it! And from there on, it was history. No, I’m only kidding. It was the start of a great experience and learning lessons.
Even though our group had lots of great ideas for the Rampantry, we also had a limited amount of time to get our group organized and start on one idea. We took on various social media outlets as well. Terrance allowed us to almost run the awareness of the organization. It was a great feeling to be trusted with such a responsibility. We had an idea and a blueprint of how everything was going to be done and ran. The biggest problem was just getting everyone in the group on the same track. This way everyone knew their title and responsibilities. I took charge of that by allowing everyone to pick what they wanted to do and separating shifts according to each one’s availability. That way everyone had a choice and would be happy that they were free to make it. It was rewarding to know that I stepped up as a leader, even though some of us bumped heads, to get things rolling. That taught me how to be more confident in myself and organization.
I decided to be a cooking volunteer. I do not cook much, but I can still cook things that I feel would taste good. This allowed me to expand upon my culinary skills. I looked up recipes after conferring with another group member about what was available within the pantry that week and cooked a version of what I found. Sometimes I bought extra seasonings to make sure our samples would be worthy of excellence. I wanted to distribute good tasting food that I would eat as well as put my name on it because we were representing the Rampantry. I dared not to disappoint (http://rampages.us/sdixon/2014/10/23/rampantry-round-2/)
Even when we ran into a few mishaps, we still came out strong as a group. We can always learn from mistakes, but for us we just worked with them. For example, with the second shift’s first week at the pantry we set off the fire alarms. But, we ended up taking our samples further down the road and even to the library. We had not thought about that when we first came up with this whole idea. We always thought we would be standing in one spot. I suggested we walk around more because not many people were crossing the Rampantry door. It worked!
This class has taught me how to be free and confident enough to take the initiative on projects that I am faced with. Before, I was self-conscious, thought my ideas were not as good as everyone else’s, and I would eventually end up being stuck in a group whose ideas I hated. Look at me now!