Throughout this summer internship, I have learned so much, and learning feels like the number one thing I do every day. What stands out to me the most out of my entire experience is that you are not going to be able to help everyone. Sometimes you have to recognize when you are not the one to help, and either the person may have to figure it out on their own or there may be other resources for people to turn to. What is upsetting is people who we help in this work who we turn away do not have the resources to get the proper help. It can be hard to put your own personal feelings aside and not try to do everything in your power and do something small. An important and difficult skill to develop is learning how to turn people away. Along with putting feelings aside, it can be difficult to help someone who has done something terrible. Learning to respond in an appropriate and professional way to anyone who comes in is also essential.
One of the biggest impacts I had was updating all of the in-person resources/pamphlets and helping to create templates of information that future interns will use to guide litigants. Some of these resources have not been updated since 2016 or before the pandemic. A lot has changed, and many people turn to these physical handouts to further educate themselves. One of the big projects I undertook when days were slow was to go through stacks of papers, see if what is there is the most up to date information, and update the information if necessary. The templates will make it easier for the next interns to understand the basics of what litigants will need in basic scenarios. This will benefit the interns and will serve as a better helping hand to the managers and supervisors from the start.
Something I wish I knew before I started this internship was that this internship requires you to constantly learn as you go, and that nearly every case that comes in will not be super cut and dry. I expected to know every kind of situation in a general sense going in so I could be prepared for anyone. This simply is not possible. You must be prepared to adapt and try to do everything to the best of your abilities. At the end of the day it’s okay to make mistakes because white out will always be there!
If I could share pieces of advice for the next person who wants to pursue an internship or career in the Court Service Centers, there are two big things I would want to share. First, sometimes you are the person who takes the heat for not being able to assist someone and know that this is not your fault. And second, advocate for yourself and do not be afraid to help someone with an issue you have not seen before. Again, the biggest thing you will be doing is learning, so do not be afraid to dive right in. Overall, I am very appreciative of the experiences that have come out of this internship. I have been able to grow as a more confident person, and most importantly, I have been able to get a better understanding of the characteristics that I want in my future career.