“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to happen.” – Winnie the Pooh.
When I first set my eyes upon the Karel Fellow application, I felt an inexpressible pull. My adventure started in the archives of this very website, pouring over the past Fellows’ blogs, and enlightening myself with Frank Karel’s admirable legacy. Finally, there was a term to describe the change I wanted to create in the world: public interest communications.
Being accepted was like a dream, one I’m still floating in. The internship has thus far shown me that communications is truly a field that any rising scholar, no matter your major, can learn and grow from. I was matched with Families USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to securing high-quality affordable health care for all, and taken aback by how much of a perfect pairing this was. My political science courses and budding communication skills could be utilized together, all while working towards much-needed healthcare reform.
But every adventure requires preparation. The two-day boot camp at Burness was a godsend. I got to meet an ensemble of experts, ready and willing to share their experience and knowledge on all thing’s communications. Getting a crash course on public interest communications and all the fields that it encompasses was a definite confidence boost for the rest of the summer. My adventure kit was prepped, now all I had to do was get out there and use it.
And use it I have. These past four weeks have flown by. It’s amazing how much you can check off your bucket list after just a month. So far, I have…
I’ve also made amazing new friends, talked to reporters, and even revamped a Wikipedia page! I know the word internship can be scary; movies and TV often portray it as a pushed around position only allowed to fetch coffee. I admit, I had those worries as well.
But the Karel Fellowship proved those fears wrong. Since my first day at Families USA, I was welcomed with the utmost respect, and instantly regarded as an equal team member. I have been invited to team meetings; I’m constantly asked for my opinions; and I’ve been assigned projects and responsibilities that allow me to learn and grow. One of the projects included reaching out to healthcare consumers who have submitted stories to the Families USA storybank, and letting them know we have a platform ready to support them in the battle against unfair healthcare policies. I’ve also sharpened my digital and design skills and worked on various graphics for social media.
Above all, I’ve learned that no good adventure is ever trekked alone. Your message could be amazing and impactful, but if you can’t communicate it effectively, it’s useless. To create change you must collaborate, and to collaborate you must communicate.
I still have a month left of the Fellowship, and countless more bucket list items to check off. I’ve already grown leaps and bounds in the past 30 days, and the next month is looking to be even more rewarding. Through this opportunity I’ve been able to unearth facets of myself I didn’t even know existed, and harness skills that will benefit me for years to come. Pursuing this adventure was a risk, but it’s paid off spectacularly.
Like T.S Eliot said, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”