An Unexpected Plot Twist

“What made you want to intern at Center Theatre Group?” tends to be a stand-out question that staff members of CTG ask me when I introduce myself for the first time as the Bank of America intern.

Truthfully, I knew nothing about theatre as a recent high school graduate; in the Bank of America Student Leaders program, five students from major branches (markets) are selected and then assigned to different nonprofits based on the organizations’ proximity to their homes. The program lasts for eight weeks, which includes seven weeks at a nonprofit and a one week, all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC.

Before the program even started, I remember being skeptical and even a bit unenthusiastic about being placed at a theatre company. I aimed to pursue a career in business administration, so at the time, my tunnel vision made me reject the idea of an arts internship.

Ultimately, the choice to intern at Center Theatre Group was not mine to make, but I’m so grateful that it’s where I landed.

After our first meeting, when Camille Schenkkan (the most welcoming/kind/considerate supervisor ever) shared with me the structure of my internship, I knew it was exactly what I needed before diving into college. I would spend time in multiple departments of the company such as Marketing, Development, Artistic, Management, and Production, to explore my interests, and my “home base” would be with her in Education.

Through this “sampler-platter” internship, I’ve learned more about myself in the past eight weeks than throughout my entire high school career.

The ability to observe and be a part of workplace culture has made me realize the type of environment I enjoy working in, what type of people I want to spend time with, and what sort of company I want to dedicate myself to. I once believed that it’d be okay for me to be unsatisfied at my future job for five days a week in order to enjoy myself on the weekends. Up until my recent experience at CTG, that was a situation I thought would be bearable. Now, I can’t imagine spending a day doing anything that did not serve a greater mission or goal in society; I’m no longer content spending an hour doing something I don’t care about or find important.

Even though I was described as “high-achieving” in high school, I discovered that there’s something completely different about academics and work. So, I was undoubtedly nervous going into the job without any professional work experience; even the idea of working an industrial copier and causing a paper jam made me a little anxious. I felt small compared to the other interns at CTG (chosen separately from the Bank’s program) who were extremely knowledgeable about theatre and intimidated by being surrounded by some of the most experienced and respected individuals in the theatre profession. At the same time, their words of encouragement gave me the confidence I needed during my transition from high school to UC Berkeley.

So I wasn’t born to be on the stage, but I’ve come to deeply appreciate and love the many minds and strings behind the curtain. What I will miss most about Center Theatre Group are the people; without them, I wouldn’t have been able to watch my first play, experience backstage tours, or have had found the power in my voice and opinions. So I’d like to extend my utmost gratitude to all of the individuals who have created the inviting, educational, and nurturing environment I will always remember as CTG. On June 8th, I arrived as a Bank of America intern, and now at the end of my eight weeks here, I’m leaving as a CTG fan.

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