I know that many WOW interns have mentioned how fast time is flying by – and without trying to be redundant or stating the obvious, I have to say that I’m genuinely surprised at how short this time I’m spending as an intern really is. Part of me feels like I’ve just arrived and thus, done nothing yet! But then when I take a look at the learning goals I’ve set for myself and see how much closer I am to realizing them, compared to when I started – then I see the progress.
At the beginning of my internship, I set two main goals for myself: learn how to effectively organize people, and understand how a non-profit organization works. Regarding the former goal, I received a reality check during my internship-training when a former intern, now community organizer said that becoming a good organizer (and knowing truly what effectiveness is) comes after about two years of doing this job. So I lowered my bar… However, even if I won’t become an effective organizer in such short amount of time, I can already say that I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what motivates people to stand up for a cause. I’ve also understood when it’s beneficial to move on from a specific project or to move organizing efforts from one place to another. Last week, a day before my phone-banking event was about to happen, the partner organization supplying the phones decided to pull out. A couple weeks ago I would’ve been angry and frustrated for days, but my supervisor helped me move on and find a different project supporting the same cause. This incident was also a good insight into how non-profit collaborations work. Due to limited resources and organization-specific strategies, we can’t expect everything to go smoothly. The non-profit world can get competitive and territorial, similarly to for-profit companies. Since we’re fighting for the same donor-base, the competition is extremely high – but meanwhile, we have to know how to cooperate.
I’m more proud of what I’ve learned and my flexibility in the workplace than I am of any specific project. However, I’m working on putting content on my organization’s new website which we’re launching hopefully by the end of this week! So by Friday, I’ll be proud of a specific accomplishment. There’s even going to be an intern blog on our new website, which you can check out here in a couple days when the website becomes active. As I said above, I’m most proud of my flexibility, simply because it was never one of my strengths. I was hoping to have an office space and set working times and conditions. When I first realized that I won’t have the latter, I was desperate. On second thought and ever-since, I found it to be an opportunity to build adaptability for myself.
I’ve already started thinking about how I will transfer the skills I’m gaining here to my life back at Brandeis, and then further on. I’d like to be involved/start a campaign around Brandeis employees’ rights. While my skill is organizing, I’ve also contacted a friend of mine who would be great for planning strategy. Since the power behind fighting for social causes is mostly people, not money, it’s important that every campaign has people with specific skill-sets. I’m also hoping to take my limited non-profit knowledge and intern for a different organization in the spring, where I can also use my NEJS major.
– Viki Bedo ’15