Jonathan Arciniega is the Jr. Digital Media Intern for CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE Consulting. Currently, a Junior at Romeoville High School, Jonathan is on a path to graduate from high school early to begin preparing for his college career. He plans to work, save money, and attend Joliet Junior College in the Fall of 2018.
By: Jonathan Arciniega
I remember standing in the cold, crisp Chicago Christmas air across the street from Union Station thinking to myself, “Oh boy, this is going to be a long day.” I had the camera in my hands and raised it to my face to take a photo of the front of station. The camera was not my own. It was the camera of one of my future trainers and bosses, I just didn't know it yet.
My mother was a client of Ms. Alberty's and was invited to Operation Jesus, an event to feed the homeless in downtown Chicago. I first met Ms. Alberty, President and Founder of CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE and OPERATION JESUS, at a Pre-Packaging event where she asked me to take a few photos. After the event she saw the photos I took and offered me a chance to take photos downtown for Operation Jesus. I happily said yes to the offer and got myself prepared, but it was pretty clear that I was still a novice.
At the end of the event, Ms. Alberty gave me her email and said we should discuss internship opportunities. A couple weeks later, I had a phone interview and the next day, while I was washing clothes, I got a phone call stating that I was hired as the Jr. Digital Media Intern for CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE! I ran back inside my home in excitement to my mom and she was exhilarated as well.
During the event at Northern Illinois University, Jonathan tweeted a photo on the CE Twitter Page and tagged NIU's Twitter page. NIU saw it and retweeted it to over 38,000 followers. It was a great experience for all! Jonathan was really excited and could barely believe it.
The next event was at Northern Illinois University taking photos for a speech Ms. Alberty was giving. I was able to capture photos of over 100 students in attendance. During that presentation, I learned not to doubt myself but to keep my head raised and not make any excuses or avoid my problems. I should never put anyone down but instead, lift them up and help them with their problems. What made my day great at the end of this event was the feedback I got from my boss. She praised me for my good work and when I looked back on what I did, I was impressed with myself.
I learned not to doubt myself but to keep my head raised and not make any excuses or avoid my problems. "
A week before we would go on the first Spring event to feed the homeless, I was getting myself prepared. I realized how much I've grown since December ... not physically but in experience and knowledge. I learned how to take pictures more professionally and how to leverage social media for CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE.
Finally, Operation Jesus on Palm Sunday came around and I was so much more ready this time around. Plus, it was way warmer this time. Ms. Alberty and I drove to Chicago early to get everything ready. All the volunteers began arriving and arranging the care packages. Meanwhile, I was taking photos and getting to know the people in my team. I learned different camera angles and how to use the settings for the camera. I also learned that the sunlight can help me enhance my shot depending on the angle.
Soon after we all got together, everyone headed to where they were suppose to go and I headed to Michigan Avenue. It was really heartbreaking to see so many people in need on the streets. It definitely changed my perspective on life and taught me to be more appreciate for what I have. Up until recently, I've had some training and my boss helped me with my plans for college and how to understand the camera better. I've set personal and academic goals and even created a 3 year plan for myself, including a targeted list of scholarships I will be applying to next Spring.
HERE'S WHAT I'VE LEARNED SO FAR THROUGH THIS INTERNSHIP ... I HOPE YOU GET INSPIRED TO REACH YOUR GOALS AFTER READING MY STORY!
1. Always say yes to an open door. You never know where it will take you.
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