They told us second year would be easy. They told us that the workload would be lighter and the classes much less difficult. They said we would learn how to balance grad school with a social life, and they promised we would have more free time. They lied.
At this stage of the game, survival feels like winning. But I will do all the things, and I will do them to the best of my ability, even if it means I won’t be sleeping much. There may be days when I don’t eat until dinner, and days I spend twelve straight hours in Gerlach. There may be times when I clean my apartment at 9:30pm on a Sunday night, because it’s the only free time I have. But there are also days when, as a Fisher Board Fellow, I get to go to board meetings and learn about how a non-profit organization is run. Those days are my shining star of hope in the chaos that is my life.
I wrote a lot last year about my first year experiences with Fisher Board Fellows. Most of last year was spent preparing for this year, because this year, I am actually serving on the board of Catholic Social Services. And I love it. I love it even more than I thought I would. I cannot tell you how much fun I am having. Although my life is a zoo, no matter how busy I am, the board meetings I attend are always the best part of my day.
Since April, I have been to a strategic retreat, Breakfast with the Bishop fundraising event, several full board meetings, and numerous external relations committee meetings. Every meeting I go to is a new learning experience, and I even feel like I’m starting to contribute to the team. Another board member and our CEO complimented me on my marketing and advertising insights at our last meeting. I’m sure Dr. Matta would be proud of me.
Over the last several months, I have been able to learn about what it takes to run a non-profit organization. I have learned about the strategic and branding and financial concerns of Catholic Social Services, and I have learned much about leadership from the CEO, Rachel Lustig. Catholic Social Services is going through some big changes, and I have been lucky enough to be present and to learn about these strategic changes and processes over the summer. I’m actually seeing the concepts we learned in class last year be implemented in a real business situation, and the experience has been invaluable for me.
Overall, this term has been challenging and overwhelming, but it has also been weirdly wonderful. If I survive and make it to fall break, I’ll let you know how the rest of my year and experiences as a board fellow go!