Over the past two-plus months at my internship, I have learned so much. I have learned a lot about suicide and addiction in Oregon, as well as the large group of people working in prevention to decrease the numbers and help those struggling with suicide or addiction. I have learned how many people are working alongside and with Lines for Life on this mission. There is a whole network of people who are doing prevention work in Oregon on different levels. By working together, they are making real change.
I have learned that in the world of work, at least at Lines for Life, community is very important. It is crucial for the prevention team to know each other in order to work together effectively. I have also learned that social justice work is a very fulfilling field of work, and it draws a lot of inspiring people to those jobs.
I feel that my biggest impact on the work that Lines for Life does is the suicide prevention website that I, along with my supervisor and OHA (Oregon Health Advisory), have been working very hard to create. This has been my biggest impact, but also my biggest challenge. It has been a huge learning experience for me to work with people outside of Lines for Life. I have learned how to communicate via email, phone calls, or meetings where some people are there and some are participating via conference call. Along with my work on the suicide prevention website, I have been a supporting person for the other prevention team members and have been able to support them in any of their projects.
I would give the advice to pick an internship that sounds interesting and will offer you a variety of tasks to do. I was choosing between two internships, and I am so glad that I chose this one as I have kept busy, as well as had the opportunity to attend many offsite events. Through this variety that my internship offers, I have had the opportunity for maximum learning and have created a strong connection with my coworkers. It has been crucial for me to have many different projects that I can go back and forth between so that I don’t get tired of one of them. My advice is that if an internship becomes monotonous and the same work over and over, it becomes less interesting. This has been very fulfilling and a great learning experience, much more so than sitting and doing paperwork all day.
My advice for someone who wants to pursue an internship with Lines for Life is to be proactive, participate in all the available opportunities, and get to know everyone you are working with, because they are really awesome people. There are a lot of different projects going on at all times, so get involved, go to the meetings, and learn as much as possible. It has been a great experience and I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to learn more and explore a career in public health and prevention work.