Surprising Developments (Blog #2)

Anticipation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. As I was preparing for this internship, I remember imagining the most fantastical scenarios. Throughout my freshmen year, I had heard from older students about their previous summer experiences. Most of their descriptions were vague, but that only served to heighten my excitement. Phrases like “life-changing” were thrown around casually and I took them at their word. But words were all I had. As I approach the end of the first month of my internship, I now understand the difficulty in expressing exactly what the experience has meant to me. It is indeed tempting to resort to empty clichés. Or I could simply quote to you, word for word, the work description from the offer sheet that LifeMoves gave to me back in February. Neither would properly represent the entirety of what I’ve done at the organization so far. Instead, I’ll tell the truth. This internship has been challenging, but not in the way I anticipated. It has been challenging because for the first time in my life, there is no clear authority figure to guide me. It has been challenging because an internship is free from the rules and customs that schools revolve around. It has been challenging because the classroom has always been the environment that I’ve been most comfortable in. It is more than a change of location; it is a different culture altogether. As part of my internship, I’ve been tasked to create documentation that will be used to train LifeMoves employees in the use of a new database. My supervisor offered a few ideas for content and formatting, granted me access to the database, promised to meet with me later in the week, and left me to my own devices. It was unexpected and at least at first, unwanted freedom. I spent the first hour of independence worrying and exploring the new database. By the second hour, I knew that I was on my own. The rest of the day must have passed in a similar state of shock. Subtly, though, things began to improve. By the next meeting, I had completed a workflow matrix to present to the rest of the team. The value of an internship is not quite as dramatic as I always imagined. Internships are important because they demonstrate the gaps that are often ignored at school. It is valuable because after I received constructive criticism about my matrix, I could revise, approach it in a new manner, and not have to worry about a grade. I didn’t anticipate that. I’m glad.

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