“If it excites you and scares the crap out of you at the same time, it probably means you should do it.” This simple phrase you might find on a motivational poster has never held truer for me than in these past few weeks.

Each year, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation holds a black tie gala that raises roughly half a million dollars. All Star Night requires months of planning and a specialized committee to help organize the event. As a special events intern, All Star Night is the main focus this fall. With the special events manager on maternity leave, this internship is definitely beyond coffee and copies. Having so many responsibilities to fill the temporarily empty position has proven to be both energizing and frightening – energizing because it is fulfilling to know someone trusts me with difficult tasks and frightening because there are such high expectations for this night.

I love the essence behind the night – rallying people together to help raise funds for critical cancer research and compassionate patient care programs at Roswell Park. It is so exciting when new pledges and sponsorships come in. It’s amazing the way individuals and companies come together for such a great cause. Tables can be sponsored at levels varying from $10,000 to $3,500.  This means I am responsible for keeping track of sponsorship benefits, relaying the proper information to sponsors, and ensuring our sponsor’s experience at the event is worth their while. This also means people expect professionalism, expertise, and efficiency at all times. While I feel capable of handling everything in that fashion, it is intimidating to feel the pressure of upholding the night to such a high standard.

I am also responsible for the silent auction portion of the night. This begins with receiving all auction items, processing and recording them, filling out in-kind donation forms, creating descriptions, packaging items if necessary, photographing packages, and ends with uploading the items to the auction website. I have a lot of anticipation to see what people will bid on these items, but I also know the value of the bid price may depend on my organization beforehand and presentation on the website. Again, an exciting task and large part of the night, but it is not unaccompanied by a bit of anxiety.

Nothing has ever propelled me more than this juxtaposition of excitement and fear. Being excited about the sponsors, auction, decorations, and marketing show me I have passion to work in development for a non-profit, while having a little bit of fear when executing tasks helps me to double check and ensure I am doing everything correctly the first time. It is unexpected, but the combination of excitement and fear work together quite nicely to get the job done. If I wasn’t excited about working on All Star Night, going to work every day would be a drag, and if I didn’t have a little bit of apprehension before completing tasks, I would probably jump the gun without thinking ahead of time. Experiencing both these emotions at once is a blessing in disguise and ensures I am at the right place at the right time in my professional journey.