Something I have learned at Brandeis both in and out of the classroom is that when you go into a new job, you are not going to know how to do everything, and that is okay. In one of my classes, we had a guest speaker who is now a very successful businessman. At the end of his presentation, the one thing he said he wished someone had told him before he started on his career path was, “you are not going to know everything when you start somewhere new, and nobody is going to expect you to know everything at first.” This really stuck with me because he was someone who has made millions of dollars and made a great future for himself. It reassured me that even people who are the most successful do not know everything, and no matter if the people around me have amazing past experiences, we were both hired in the same place for a reason.
Hearing this from a successful businessman and other people in the Brandeis community was really significant for me for many reasons. First, entering a new job for the summer in an area that I am somewhat unfamiliar with, but want to learn more about, was very daunting for me. Having this advice before starting my internship was extremely helpful in calming my nerves and put me in a good mindset. When I am working, there are many things that come up every day that I do not know the answer to. Coming in with this mindset has allowed me to not be afraid to ask questions, which is something challenging for me. Also, I have realized that the more questions I ask, the more I show that I truly want to learn, grow, and know what to do the next time a similar situation arises. This has allowed me to approach the internship and tasks with more confidence because I know they hired me for a reason, and when I am asked to do something, they believe that I am capable of doing it, so I should be too!
This mindset that I have come in with has also allowed me to reflect on the work that goes on within the Court Service Center. I realized that the women who supervise me are also real lawyers, and they know a lot about many different areas of law. However, it has obviously taken them years to get to this point, and they do not expect us to know everything they do. They have said if we did know even fifty percent of what they did, we would be lawyers already. That being said, for the most part, there are only two women who work directly above me and anywhere from two to six interns working with them. This means these women really do so much work even before/after hours or during lunch breaks because they do not have enough time during the day. On top of normal workload, they have to keep up to date with all the new court rules and understand many different types of law and the processes within them. They are able to do so much for so many people, but sometimes they could use one more person who knows as much as them. It really takes so much knowledge, time, and energy to be doing what these women do.
Additionally, the Greenfield Court Service Center and the other Court Service Centers around Massachusetts are incredible resources and are extremely important for those who cannot afford lawyers. Yes, they have amazing interns like me, but again, they do not expect us to know everything. What I have realized is if the Court Service Centers had more full-time staff, they could help so many more people in the same amount of time, or have extra time to update pamphlets, documents, and other resources.
This has allowed me to reflect overall on the different roles in an organization and their expectations. This brings back what the guest speaker said, that as an intern I am not expected to know everything. I am expected to learn, try hard, and assist in any way possible. Though I can still question what I should/should not know, knowing the expectations they have for me is always a good way to ground myself in any new role, and further reassure that I am meant to be there and putting in my best efforts.