Abigail’s Summer Internship Experience

Throughout this internship I explored how my identities have shaped my experiences in this world. I have bolstered my leadership, communication, teamwork, and time management skills. I have thoughtfully reframed my approach to civic engagement; I pledge to serve, not fix, my community and prioritize connecting individuals through volunteering. 

During this internship we participated in six different workshops covering the following topics; financial literacy, fitting in vs. belonging, resume building, personal mission statement creation, leadership styles, and imposter syndrome/growth mindset. In the Financial Literacy workshop we learned how to maximize our financial security by establishing savings accounts and investing consistently in emergency funds/our S.M.A.R.T. (smart-measurable-achievable-reasonable-timely) goals. In the Fitting In vs. Belonging workshop we defined and reflected upon the meaning of both terms. Fitting in is superficial, and it usually consists of conforming to social pressures or meeting suffocating standards. Belonging is feeling not only accepted, but embraced, feeling comfortable being your authentic self and expressing all facets of your identity. The relationships I have built with my fellow interns will serve as a memorable example of how diversity in both thought and identity is a bridge, not a barrier. In the Personal Mission statement building workshop we identified our path to purpose. We began by analyzing our passions and how they reflected our values/beliefs. Then we formulated a pledge; mine was to choose resilience everyday, and brainstormed actions to guide us in our journeys; I committed to bolstering my self confidence through daily verbal affirmations. In the Leadership Styles workshop we discovered our personal strengths and weaknesses as leaders. As a yellow leader, I propel teams forward with motivation, however sometimes I push my own ideas too aggressively. Lastly in the Imposter Syndrome/Growth Mindset workshop we unpacked the pernicious nature of imposterism, how subtle self degradation can prevent you from achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. After reflecting on moments when I let impostorism consume me, I committed to embodying a growth mindset and seeing challenges as opportunities. 

I learned a plethora of invaluable lessons watching and reflecting upon various TED Talks. Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” taught me that there is a difference between leaders and those who lead, leaders hold a position of power or authority whereas those who lead inspire and strive to unite people through a shared set of beliefs. Alice Goffman’s TED Talk “How we’re priming some kids for college — and others for prison” reminds us that our legal system is based in racist ideologies, built to protect the power of white, wealthy men. The police force was designed to hunt black and brown people because color is seen as a weapon in our society. It is time we implement restorative justice policies and break the cycle of poverty by giving historically marginalized communities access to higher education. We need to redefine justice, we must choose healing, not punishment. Judge Helen Whitener’s TED Talk “Claiming Your Identity By Understanding Your Self-Worth” warns us that by internalizing societal codes, standards, and stereotypes you are jeopardizing your self-worth. Only once you have embraced all facets of your identity, and the privileges or barriers that they bring, will you wholeheartedly respect yourself. 

I immersed myself in the thought-provoking alternate realities of Octavia’s Brood, an amalgamation of social justice themed short stories. The parallels between potential dystopian societies and our current society are infinite. This shocking realization has reinvigorated my passion to create change. 

I am so thankful I got to participate in Passion Impact’s summer internship. Through this experience I have found a community of passionate individuals committed to social justice, and together we will create beautiful change. 

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