Today’s post is the final installment in a series following University of Richmond students through their internships this summer. To read about Alyson Fraser’s application process and more information about her internship, check out Part 1 and Part 2.
Ten weeks of hard work flew by and my internship at the Children’s Defense Fund has officially come to an end. It turns out that most of what I learned through this internship had little to do with the work itself. I thought I would just be learning concrete skills and gaining a little experience but I ended up learning much more! From working on projects with other interns, to having a supervisor, to interacting with the people that I served – I learned a lot about interpersonal skills.
Based on my experience this summer, I have a few words of wisdom to other students and future interns:
- Make sure that your expectations for the internship as well as your supervisor’s expectations for you are clear from the beginning. If you feel like those expectations aren’t being met, don’t be afraid to speak up! I definitely had to have a couple conversations with my supervisor about my experience and I learned a lot from those conversations. While you are there to help, you are also there to gain a valuable learning experience. If you don’t feel like you are getting that, then it is your responsibility to say something!
- Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you in the city where you are interning. This is especially true if you are interning in a place like Washington, D.C. or New York City! Be proactive in seeking out career and social opportunities. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Congressional Caucus Hearing on Black Men and Boys, an event where Trayvon Martin’s father spoke as well as many other notable figures in the Black community like the president of the NAACP. This was probably one of the most educational and exciting experiences of my whole internship. It directly related to the work I did at CDF but I found out and attended this event on my own.
- Last but not least, make the best of your experience! It probably won’t be exactly what you expect but there is always something to be learned.
I enjoyed my time with the Children’s Defense Fund and I am walking away with a lot of new knowledge, a stronger passion for what I want to do in the future, as well as some great memories and new friends. It has been a wonderful and productive summer but I am looking forward to heading back to Richmond for the year ahead!