During my internship at BridgeYear, I enhanced my skills, expanded my knowledge about the industry, and learned more about how I work best. My role has allowed me to develop a number of skills including critical thinking, project management, and leadership. These skills were actually what I chose as areas of growth at the beginning of the internship, and were reflected as strengths in my 360 evaluations.
My projects enable me to use each aspect in anything I do. Since BridgeYear is a startup, I need to manage multiple projects at once, developing my time management, organizational skills, and efficiency. Similarly, because the organization is implementing certain processes for the first time, one needs to work without prior examples or structure – like developing a social media strategy or creating an impact report, for example. I find this extremely exciting, as I enjoy starting up new projects and leading them to execution.
My leadership skills have also improved immensely. My projects rely greatly on collaboration and delegation of dependent tasks, as they overlap with various aspects of the organization and require different areas of expertise. We are given opportunities to present our progress, ask for feedback, hold brainstorming discussions, and discuss team-asks during meetings. This provides a platform for one to delegate tasks, but also creates an environment in which that becomes easier. In addition, another intern and I are responsible for organizing a “Volunteer Build Day” event, which allows BridgeYear to double its capacity. I look forward to this, as it will allow me to further exercise my leadership abilities, while learning more about event planning and coordination.
Along with the management and business-related skills I gained, I have also been able to practice skills related to social justice. I advise around fifty students, which helps me greatly improve my communication skills. However, it also makes me more invested in my work, as I get invested in each of my students. This helped me realize the importance of resonating with the purpose and mission of my work, as it motivates me to perform to my potential.
In addition, I learned more about the type of environments and styles that drive me to perform to the best of my ability. For example, I really enjoy leadership positions, particularly in smaller teams. It gives me a balance of being able to manage projects and assign tasks, while remaining part of the execution and collaborating. I also enjoy the combination of independent work and meetings, as the mixture allows me to be most productive.
I have learned immensely from this internship, most of which I can apply moving forward. I gained numerous transferrable skills that can be applied to any kind of task I perform, learned more about the industry I am interested in, and discovered plenty about how I work best. This is all extremely helpful when looking for the right job opportunity and knowing how to adjust to perform to my best potential.