Arise Student has “Astonishing” Summer Experience

“Overall, it was a really great opportunity and experience where I was able to learn more about office work, my community, and also myself”

August 28th, 2014


Welcome back to school!!! How was summer? For Arise High student, Claudia Torres, it was great! Read her story!

Interning in Mayor Quan’s Office
by Claudia Torres, Arise High School

“My experience in the mayor’s office has been astonishing. It was completely different than what I expected.

What I expected: Before coming to the office I expected it to be super strict and boring. I thought everyone just sat at their desk for certain hours and when their hours of work were over they would just go home. When I think about office work, it reminds me of people who always say that those in offices have the easiest jobs because they just sit around at their computers. My parents always said, go to college so I can get a easy job just working in a desk. When I found out that I was going to be interning at the Mayor’s office I was very excited even though it seemed strict and boring. I really had no idea about what they were going to make me do. I was just going to show up and see what they had for me. It was going to be a new experience no matter what.

What it was actually like: Fascinating. Ever since the first day that I was introduced to the staff and shown around the office I felt a good vibe. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. The first person I helped out was Melissa. She gave me a pretty big task, which was organizing the Board and Commission binder into an excel spreadsheet. There are around 33 Boards and commissions in Oakland that I had to type up, and it was so much information. Although it was a lot of work, I enjoyed it. I became more familiar with how to organize information on spreadsheets. As I worked on this, Melissa would explain to me how it all worked and what are the steps that have to be taken once there is a vacancy to be filled. I began attending City Council meetings as well. Melissa was the one who explained to me what Council meetings are and the whole process of them. I learned a lot about what was going on in my own city that I wasn’t aware of. I also did a lot of other smaller tasks. I made phone calls, printed thank you letters, and entered student information from the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program.

Overall, being here in the office I realized that office work is not easy work and sitting down at a desk isn’t as easy as everybody thinks. Everyone here in the office is always working, in and out of the office, handling all sorts of things. The work never really finishes because as soon as one thing is done there is always something else to take care of. I was surprised to know how late many people in the office stay working on something. They don’t just leave at a certain same time every day. I realized how dedicated everyone in the Mayor’s office is to help make a better Oakland. Being in the office isn’t as boring as I believed where people just sit there and have no communication with anyone else in the office. They actually have good communication and get along with each other; it feels like a little family here in the office. Every Monday we had Staff meeting. Everyone including, Mayor Quan, would sit around a table and we would discuss what had to be done in that week and what good things had gone on the previous week.

Overall, it was a really great opportunity and experience where I was able to learn more about office work, my community, and also myself. I came to love this place and actually looked forward to coming every morning, so I will for sure miss it once I start school and can’t be here anymore. I still look forward to volunteering to come help whenever I have some time.”

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