8 weeks went by really, really fast.
It seems like just yesterday it was February 17 (February?!) about 11:55am. I was sitting in my supervisor’s office, pretending like I didn’t notice exactly what time it was. I knew that “Host Organizations begin to make offers February 17, 2016 Noon (EST).” A couple
short long minutes later, I got my call for my NACA internship. Yes.
Fast forward 15 weeks later. It was my first day at my internship. I woke up extra early, went on a run, and left my apartment ready to kick butt.
8 weeks later, my internship is already coming to a close. What happened in that time? Where did the time go?! If my summer goes that quick, I can’t imagine how fast this second year of grad school will go. But now isn’t the time to worry about that…
I’m going to be honest here: this summer isn’t what I expected it to be.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying my experience was bad. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. I’m just saying that it was a lot different than what I thought it would be.
Yesterday I was sitting in the office reflecting with another staff member/ colleague / friend. He asked me how my summer was, and I gave him that same answer. This is when he shares a news breaking piece of information: He told me that a summer internship is only 25% professional development, but 75% personal growth. Oh.
Maybe that would have been nice to know.
Perhaps that would have saved me some time feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. Maybe that would have saved me some time feeling bad for not making a big enough impact. But, I didn’t know that. But I know now. And self-reflection is just as important this summer as the actual work I do. And if you have followed my other posts, you know how much I have learned about myself this summer and I am grateful for that. But still, being super raw again: I felt like I didn’t “do” enough this summer. Was it a waste?
As I was sitting in my colleague’s office, my phone buzzed. It buzzed again. I ignored it, thinking it was just some group messages or snapchats. (I love group messages and GroupMe, but man, they can be a lot sometimes….) We had a nice chat. He verified that I’m more prepared than I think I am. Thank you- I needed to hear that.
When I left his office, I checked my phone. I had a notification from Twitter: My blog was posted on THE STUDENT AFFAIRS COLLECTIVE. This felt so cool, and so great. They reached out a few weeks ago to ask me to write, but it was finally posted. It definitely made my day. I’m
not sucking doing okay.
Then, I checked an email that had popped in. A while ago I had applied for NASPA Center for Women (CFW) Candid Conversations 365. I saw the posting in a NASPA email and thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity. I probably wouldn’t get it, but I applied anyway. After all, you can’t get something if you don’t try. Update: I got it. My email invited me to participate as a mentee in Candid Conversations 365. Hey Amanda, you’re actually doing well!
Some might read this and think I’m humble bragging. But why is it that I feel like I have good news and it’s hard to share that good news because I’ll get reprimanded for bragging?
Well, I’m excited. I’m proud. So I want to share it.
This news is exactly what I needed to hear at the end of the summer. This news is what reminds me that I am growing, and that I’m growing even if I don’t feel it. I’m making a difference, somehow, even if I may not feel like I am. And sometimes, it’s okay to want to share that with others.
So, what did I learn this summer? Well, I learned a lot professionally. I learned about this campus culture and office culture. I increased my Fraternity and Sorority Life knowledge and I worked on some awesome projects that I’m super proud of. I met some great people and some amazing students. I beefed up my resume and have a crazy amount of experiences in my back pocket to discuss at any moment. Did I learn a lot? Yes. Am I thankful for my experience? Yeah!
But. I also learned how to be vulnerable. I learned “self care” (finally) that everyone talks about. I learned how to grow my confidence. I learned that hard work really does pay off in every way (okay, I also believe a little bit of that is good karma too). I learned that it’s okay to share good news, because other people want to share your good news and celebrate with you.
After tonight, I had several students come up and tell me “thank you” or “don’t leave us!” since they all knew it was my last day. That meant the world to me. If a student- even just one- comes up and doesn’t want me to leave, that means I did something right. But I had a lot of students say that to me. I could never thank them enough for the strong impact their kind words had on me.
So I learned that my biggest growth and impact is going to come from myself. It’s not about the projects I did or didn’t have. It’s not about what I thought I would do or could do verses what I did. It’s about the impact I made. And when you think you’re going to have just another day and you leave work with this kind of appreciate then you apparently did something right:
So thank you to everyone who encouraged me, supported me, or challenged me this summer. Thank you to everyone and anyone who even just listened to me. Yesterday my colleague said, “Ya know, the thing about summer internships isn’t about what you do there. It’s the fact that you should come back from your internship a new person.”
And I believe I am.
So thank you for that opportunity. Year two, I’m getting ready for you. As ready as I’ll ever be.
PS– I drive back to Gainesville tomorrow to move out of my apartment, then I get to spend a week with my family (and nephews!) at Disney. I may go MIA, but I will be back with plenty to say once I move into the house and officially begin year two in a week and a half.
quote of the day: “You have helped each of us more than you’ll ever know.” – My Panhellenic Exec Board’s thank you card. I’ll miss you wonderful women. But THIS is why I do what I do.