What an amazing summer I’ve had in Williston! If you would have asked me how I was feeling before I came to North Dakota, I would have said several things:
I’m worried my internship won’t be enjoyable. I’m worried I won’t be able to meet my co-workers’ expectations. I hope I won’t be bored in Williston. I’m nervous about making new friends with the interns.
Looking back now, it’s comical how stressed I was over an experience that has turned out to be so incredible. As the Events & Marketing Intern at the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce this summer, I have experienced invaluable learning opportunities and have been encouraged to take initiative at every turn. I have attended countless committee meetings, seen every step of the event planning process, produced various types of marketing communications, and met so many community members whose support for one another is truly inspiring. I have learned that in Williston, if you don’t directly know someone who can help you get the job done, guaranteed there is someone you do know who knows a guy, who knows a friend, who will absolutely help you.
Though I’ve had the privilege of participating in many community events and activities throughout my internship, I do have a few favorites:
- Getting to take pictures on the Media Tour on Lemonade Day: Even though I was force-feeding myself after two straight hours of sugar consumption, it was incredible to see how professional those young entrepreneurs were! The fact that they opened their stands despite the rain was awesome! Lemonade Day inspired me to stock my glovebox with $1 bills, so whenever I passed a lemonade stand on the street, I was prepared to pull over and visit.
- Rockin’ Ribfest: This event felt like my baby. I loved seeing all the Chamber’s and the Ribfest volunteers’ hard work come together into such a successful community event! And the ribs were pretty fantastic. All the Gonzaga interns enjoyed themselves!
- Ribbon Cuttings: It was exciting for me to be part of a new business’ successful opening in Williston. When I visited those businesses later, it felt more personal since I had been there at their Ribbon Cutting.
- Working with such an energetic staff with a mentality of “failure is not an option” inspired me daily as an intern. When a plan didn’t pan out for an event, my co-workers always took the news in stride and immediately hatched a back-up plan. Even with no Chamber President, one full-time staff member out with an injury, and a Gonzaga intern on the way, my Chamber staff made it work and somehow kept everything on track!
A lot of community members have asked me how I’ve liked Williston. Now, I can respond honestly and say I have truly enjoyed myself. I’ve come to love custard from Culver’s, I’ve gotten so much coffee from Caffeinated that Precious (best barista ever!) memorized my order, I’ve looked forward to playing sand volleyball every Wednesday night at Spring Lake Park, and I’ve come to understand why everyone from Williston freaks out about the ARC – it’s awesome. I’ve confirmed that people from North Dakota really love Theodore Roosevelt (like A LOT). I’m still not exactly sure what’s in knoephla soup, but it’s pretty yummy. Lastly, I will forever be a little obsessed with prairie dogs.
Overall, this internship was a one-of-a-kind experience. You can be sure that I will practically preach about my incredible time in Williston to my fellow Zags when I get back to campus.
In the true spirit of North Dakota, I’d like to end with a quote that truly captures my experience in Williston this summer.
“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Thank you to my co-workers, my fellow interns, and all the incredible people I’ve met along the way for leaving footprints in my heart and making Williston such a hard place to leave.
Gonzaga University Class of 2020