Now that my summer internship has wrapped up, I am able to take the time to reflect on what an incredible experience I have been afforded. I have grown in more ways than I ever could have anticipated, and that growth is irreplaceable.
Looking back to the beginning of my internship, I am able to point out all of the misconceptions I had about the program. In hindsight, I wish I had taken more initiative to get to know my coworkers outside NYU. I think I was apprehensive about forming too much of a community knowing that my stint in New York was only temporary. Looking back, I think it would have been worth the effort. To all future interns: treat your summer internship and the people you meet as if you’re staying there for a while. Don’t be in a hurry to leave.
A Change in Perspective
My perspective has changed quite a bit over the course of my internship. I went in thinking this one program, this one initiative, had the power to save the lives of so many girls. Now, I know that there is no one program or group of people that can rescue vulnerable children. In fact, the very notion of rescuing or helping is very problematic; it’s colonizing. It assumes that these children don’t have the power or capability to reclaim control over their own lives. It assumes that these children need us, academics to save them, and without us, they cannot thrive. All of these things are wrong. These children are suffering at the hands of countless broken systems. If anyone needs fixing, it’s the corrupt and oppressive systems (ie: schools, detention centers, police forces, immigration laws, foster care), and unfortunately, in my privilege, I am benefiting from these same systems that have been hurting these young girls for far too long. I could not be more grateful for this experience and all of the eye opening experiences I have learned from.