Melanie Cohen joined ArtsPond on May 28, 2018 as our Canada Summer Jobs Education and Outreach Assistant. Here are some of her reflections on completion of her contract with us. We wish she didn’t have to go back to school so we could keep her with us much longer!
As an undergraduate student, looking for a summer job felt like a multitude of things: frustrating, exhausting, maddening, and so much more. However, I can now say that I’m truly grateful to have gone through some pretty boring shifts, an overarching sense of discouragement, and countless rejections because it all led me to ArtsPond.
I have a schedule and a steady income now, two things I desperately wanted after finishing my fourth year at the University of Toronto. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the more I came into work, the more fulfilled I felt at the end of the day. Every day, I get to work in a comfortable and welcoming space, with friendly and co-operative staff, and a passionate, kind and calm boss. There’s no dress code, I can make my own schedule, and I commute to one of the most vibrant areas of the city. My boss, Jessa, makes us delicious smoothies, and my co-worker, Matt, gets me coffee on his lunchbreaks. I can work from home occasionally, and I work 6-hour days! Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it is, and the best part about it is I enjoy doing the work.
Working at ArtsPond with Jessa has been a truly valuable experience for me. I am more proficient in Excel, have acquired a concise and professional vocabulary, and am contributing to the efforts of something that is attempting to better the lives of so many people. I’ve learned more about (affordable) housing than I have in my entire life, and I know more about the struggles artists endure than I knew existed. I’ve learned about non-profit protocol, language, and collaboration. I’ve realized the importance of not only community engagement, but also community-based discussion, and the intrinsic value of having an array of different perspectives in the same room. As my favourite scholar Marshall McLuhan said, “the job of the artist is to upset all the senses and thus provide new vision and new powers of adjusting to and relating to new situations.” Working at ArtsPond helped me truly appreciate this reality. With that, I’d like to give all my thanks to Jessa and the ArtsPond team. It’s been a great summer working with you all.