A big goal that I had coming into this internship was to be able to see what exactly an organization such as United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area does day to day and, at the same time, how large-scale projects get accomplished. I think I have at least partially accomplished this goal. I have learned that this line of work can involve a lot of meetings and a lot of making connections in order to get help in solving a problem that is found in the community. I have also learned a lot about writing emails. As trivial as the task may seem, it is a large part of the process and can be very delicate depending on who you are talking to. I had previously discounted the importance of those virtual communications in making sure everything is getting accomplished that needs to done.
I’ve also found that one of the biggest factors in creating a well-functioning team is an environment such as the one I was working in. Everyone in the office is incredibly friendly and often will just start explaining what they were working on. I’ve been able to attend meetings and talk with individuals that help to put my experience in a larger perspective, one outside of the daily small tasks. I will be forever grateful for everyone who took the time out of their schedule to walk me through their position and their perspective on what can help benefit the community.
Overall, this internship has been a positive experience. Apart from just being something else to put on my résumé, it has shown me what office life is like when an organization does not have clients coming in on a regular basis, at least during the summer. Similarly, the interactions I’ve had have helped me to sort out my short-term goals and confirm some suspicions I’ve had about my future (the job market, scary as it is, will be where I turn after UVA). I hope that I have helped contribute to the organization in some way over the past two months, even if only to keep some papers off of people’s desks. I know that the skills that I have learned here during the internship, be they as small as registering a United Way Day of Caring team online or as large as conducting an interview, will be beneficial for the future. I’m so appreciative to have had the opportunity to work with such a great organization and such an enthusiastic and dynamic group of people.
Posted by: Abby Roberson, University of Virginia Summer Intern
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