CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?
OS: I worked at a nonprofit called the Borgen Project as a political affairs intern. The Borgen Project is an organization that lobbies Congress to try to get legislation passed that would support those who are living in poverty around the world, which would be accomplished by increasing the international affairs budget. The goal of my internship was to help lobby Congress to help that legislation get passed by Congress. My responsibilities were to complete a weekly tracker that was filled with tasks for my 12-week internship. I was also responsible for fundraising $500 for the organization and I took initiative and set up four networking events that allowed other political affairs interns to meet each other.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?
OS: In the end, the task that enjoyed most was the most challenging one: fundraising $500 for the organization. Through the internship, I was able to develop new strategies for asking for money. Although I struggled a little with asking, I was still able to complete my goals. I was proud when I completed the task because it was something that I was worried about getting done, and when I had completed it, it was a weight off of my chest. While I did not love this internship because of the busywork, it did give me an idea about my future career. I got an understanding of what it meant to lobby Congress and how I could be successful in future endeavors in working towards those goals. I would say the skill that I used most from this internship was managing my time since I had to manage my academic schedule and my internship. This was something that was not too difficult and while I still need to get better at it, I would say that I was generally successful at managing both the internship and my course load at the same time.
CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?
OS: This internship was really interesting to me initially because I wanted to do something to help the world’s poor communities. It also gave me an understanding of politics, a field that I may want to go into in the future, through interactions with my congressional leaders which I met through lobbying. Although I was only able to schedule a meeting with the office of Senator Ed Markey, it was still a good opportunity to see into what it meant to be a politician.
CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship, job, or other career-related experience?
Look back at your past experiences to build your interests. If I were to work at another nonprofit, I would want to have a more active role in the community and not just stay behind my desk filling out a tracker. Instead of doing everything online, I want to advocate for what I believe in. I would rather work in a more creative capacity with more possibilities to express myself through my work. When looking back on my internship, I would say that there are two things that I should have done more effectively. First, I should have been more focused on completing my goals on time, specifically fundraising. I would say that most can come from learning how to not procrastinate as much as I did. In the end, I finished my fundraising on the last day of my internship which was a little bit stressful. Finally, I would say that I should have taken advantage of all the opportunities that I got through the internship. I did not have a chance to publish an article for the Borgen Project, which was a little bit disappointing. Overall, I was generally quite successful in completing my tasks. In conclusion, I would say that this internship was generally successful even though I did not enjoy every part of it. I would be willing to work at another nonprofit as long as I do not have such a rigid set of expectations from my supervisors and am allowed some creative freedom.