I spent three years dreaming of this Fellowship, and I can’t believe it’s over. The past two months felt like forever, but, at the same time, it went by so fast. How is that possible?
I learned so much, but not in the way I expected. I’ve been used to being independent since I left for college, but to be in a different “state” is a whole different ballpark. It was as if I was off to college all over again, but my parents weren’t there to help me move in. Instead, it was my Uber driver who helped me with my things up three flights of stairs.
I never truly understood the importance of internships besides the exposure to a workspace, but now I do. I got a taste of the “real world,” something that seems so abstract in the classroom. I learned that while I like working independently, I need an office space that allows for constant collaboration. I’ve also learned that the 2 o’clock coffee pickup is a must when you’re working a 9-to-5 job. Here’s a shout out to the Starbucks on New Jersey Ave for the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew with extra sweet cream, you got me through a lot of deadlines.
However, one of the biggest things this Fellowship taught me was that I will be fine after graduation. College doesn’t tell you that there are jobs out there that don’t require a major. In fact, three people from the comms team at CDF didn’t even major in communications in undergrad! Yet here they are, running all communications for a nation-wide nonprofit. This experience showed me that it’s okay not to have a five-year plan after graduation because most of the staff there didn’t either. That’ll probably be my new mantra once my senior year starts in a couple of days.
Since my final presentation was about brand authenticity online, I’ll start. It took a very long time to get acclimated to D.C. and my job at the Children’s Defense Fund. I was ready to take the city by storm but instead, D.C. humbled me. (If you’re curious what I mean by that, you can read my first blog here.) I took those hurdles as a sign to step back and reflect. Reflecting helped me identify the theme of my final presentation one step at a time, or in comms terms, one tweet at a time.
That was another big thing this Fellowship taught me: I can’t do it all at once. In fact, no one and no organization can. What people and organizations can do to start effecting change is to startthe conversation. It seems so small, but that’s how change starts: one step at a time. I bet that’ll be my second mantra of senior year.
Not only will this experience help me through my senior year, it will help me make a change in the world one step at a time.