Bye, bye internship

Rachel and Elsa smiling. They are surrounded by pink flowers and tables at the movie premiere event

Rachel and me at the Miss You Can Do It premiere in Chicago

Greetings from Bloomington, Indiana! After three amazing months as an intern at Easter Seals Headquarters in Chicago, it’s time for me to complete my senior year at Indiana University.

Trading my office for a classroom will be no easy task. While I absolutely love my school (GO HOOSIERS!), I will truly miss the Easter Seals family. I learned more about myself in the past three months than I have in my 21 years of life.

On May 20th, I entered the Willis Tower office (Sears Tower for you Chicago folk) timid and unsure. I was in a new city about to begin work for an organization that is near and dear to my family…no pressure, eh? I had already braced myself for what I thought to be the typical “intern duties”: going on countless Starbucks runs and spending endless hours licking envelopes. Note to future interns: The Devil Wears Prada is FAR from the truth.

It may sound cheesy, but as soon as I entered the office, I knew I was in the right place. I walked through the door and my eyes gravitated to a quote on the wall from Easter Seals founder Edgar Allen: “Your life and mine shall be valued not by what we take…but what we give.” These touching words set the tone for my summer. I was welcomed with smiles all over rather than an expansive list of coffee orders, and right from the first day I felt like a valuable employee.

Fast forward a few months to where I am now. Of course I left Easter Seals with professional skills that I will be able to apply to my future endeavors, but those resume-boosters pale in comparison to what I emotionally got out of the internship. I left Easter Seals with lifelong connections and a new outlook and appreciation for life.

Prior to my internship I had little knowledge about the day-to-day lives of people living with disabilities. I approached disabilities like so many others in my generation do, sympathetic yet unaware. Each day at the office became a new learning experience.

Through Miss You Can Do It I learned about the inner beauty that lies in every girl, no matter her physical ability. The Hornet’s Nest, an upcoming war documentary, taught me that we need to put our political opinions on war aside to meet the unique needs of our new veterans. Some of the men and women featured in the film are younger than me, and have already lived the lives of someone three times my age. Beyond my major projects, I loved looking through various marketing materials to learn about current and former Easter Seals representatives. Their stories inspire me to live life with a smile on my face.

I am so thankful for my experience at Easter Seals this past summer. I was lucky enough to do work that I truly enjoyed with amazing and passionate people. I learned a lot about an incredible organization, and I learned a lot about myself in the process as well.


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  1. Elsa Remak Says:

    Mary: You will love your time at Easter Seals, enjoy every minute!! Can’t wait to read your posts.

    Rachel: Thank you for the kind words. Miss you!

  2. Mary Van Poolen Says:

    Thanks Elsa and Rachel, I really enjoyed reading this and I know that I’ll have a great time at Easter Seals.