A View from the Tracks

Last Monday for my first week in the SIDAR program I didn’t know if I was more worried about meeting my unit host and seeing if we would have a connection (don’t worry, I have yet to meet someone at the Foundation that I didn’t like), or discovering more about the internship and finding out it actually was not for me (again, don’t worry. I’m starting to really like it here—all the lunch meetings we had last week didn’t hurt…). Or if I was going to figure out the NJ Transit train web and not come into work fumbling and late every day. The train was definitely the most daunting and worrying about it took away most of my beauty sleep the night before our first day.

Now, just a week later, each morning as I begrudgingly roll out of bed I feel like a real adult. A real adult because I can sigh, “Mondays” like the rest of them, but I can get myself up, make my breakfast, stand at the specific spot on the platform where all the super-cool train regulars know the car doors will stop and successfully make it to work on time. Just yesterday, I helped a couple from Oklahoma navigate the North East Corridor Line and find a new degree of patience when one of my fellow passengers is talking too loud on their cell phone. Like the Rutgers bus system and all its hassle, after the first week everyone’s a pro.

For all that, the best part about taking the train is not the grown-up confidence it gives me, but every morning, just before we roll into the New Brunswick station, I catch a glimpse of the Raritan River. And that’s the best part. For 30 seconds each morning, I’m filled with a swelling sense of pride as I can begin to connect my newfound knowledge of Rutgers and the Rutgers University Foundation and translate it into the landmarks sitting on the banks.

Straight down the river I can see High Point Solutions Stadium peak out across the trees and I think of my cohorts Emma and Yvans working in Athletic Development. Next, I can see the Johnson & Johnson Hamilton Street building and my mind now links with our SIDAR Mark in Corporate Foundation Relations. Close to my fold, in the School of Arts and Sciences Major Gifts Department, I can check up on the construction progress of our newest academic buildings that are slated to open this fall. Even the ads at the train station for Robert Wood Johnson make me think of Sean and Christina working in RBHS Development.

Every day, this flash from the train means so much more. I’m beginning to get it.  My daily train ritual now serves as the energetic charge-up for my day. It focuses me into what I want to accomplish today: what have I remembered from the day before that I want to expand on, what projects I’ll be assisting in, and what challenges I recognize not just as a member of the SIDAR program, but as a student.

Needless to say I’m excited for what lies ahead this summer. I’m ready to learn, to connect, and to take action in the things I feel passionate about and right now, there’s no better place to be than with the Rutgers University Foundation SIDAR program.

Madison Molner

SIDAR, School of Arts and Sciences Major Gifts

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