Alli Thompson, from Wisconsin Rapids is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in Human Services, with a minor in History. At the UW Oshkosh she juggles four classes while serving as president of the Human Service Organization along with being a member of National Society of Leadership and Success and Golden Key International Honor Society. Follow her as she blogs about her final semester at UWO and her internship experience at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
WOW! I cannot believe how fast this semester as flown by. It is hard to believe that I will be graduating in less than 10 days. I absolutely loved my internship and the staff members I had the privilege of working with during my 280-hour internship at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
This last month was a crazy one. As you all know I was in charge of planning the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. This was a ton of work, but an awesome experience too. I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of putting on a large scale event. As I said in my earlier blog I had to go around the Oshkosh and ask for donations, not in money but in gift cards or other items. This was stressful, because when you follow up with many of the places they say they will get back to you but often times don’t. I felt like a pest, but I guess if that is what it takes to start a fire under someone to go then by all means I was going to do it. I also made a bingo game for the volunteers to play at the recognition. It consisted of me making up 36 questions, finding pictures as the answers of the questions, cutting them all out, pasting them together. This project was very time consuming. However, during the process I learned a lot about the institutions past. Linda and myself also went shopping to find prizes for the volunteers. This was tricky because we wanted to stay with our recipe theme, but also provide gifts that would be useful. In other words, it sounds pretty easy but it wasn’t, ha. I also worked on another project. WMHI had a recipe book of their favorite recipes for 1873 to 1983. My job was to retype the recipes onto recipe cars. I then had to pick three out of the group bunch them together and place them in the recipe card holder (which was another crafty project I did).
When the event got closer I was started to get nervous. I kept thinking to myself what if they don’t like the prizes? What if they hate the theme? What if they don’t enjoy themselves? The day of setting up it all came together and I think it was the perfect set up. I was SO ecstatic on how things looked together. Everyone loved the theme and thought everything was well done. We even got compliments like this is the best Volunteer Recognition in years. Overall, I was happy that all my hard work had paid off. It was stressful at times, but also a ton of fun. It is nice to see how an event works from start to finish.
The 140th Birthday Celebration went well. However, there were a few kinks. But my favorite part of that week was talking about the posters we had put together with some of the female patients in Petersik. It was nice to interact with the patients again and answer their questions about how the institute was once run. The open house for the museum was decent. We expected more people due to the fact the museum was open for longer hours, but that did not happen as planned. However, I enjoyed myself leading mini tours and answering questions that the guest had. So, if you are every looking for something do to please stop by WMHI Museum 1-3:30 p.m. Thursdays from February to October. Don’t be a stranger — there is tons to learn and look at!
My last day was Monday; I technically finished the week of the recognition event, but enjoyed myself so I continued to volunteer. I was super sad to leave WMHI. Over my time there I have learned to much about the institute, myself, and others that it was as if I was closing a chapter in book. I know for a fact that I will be in contact with Linda and few of the other staff I got to know really well during my time. In the end if you are looking for a place to challenge yourself, to experience new things WMHI is the place to do it. I honestly loved my experience, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have had tears in my eyes as I drove away.
Lastly, make sure you pick something that scares you, you will learn so much more about yourself if step out of your comfort zone!