Emerging Friendships from Virtual Opportunities
Being in quarantine for so long allowed for more virtual opportunities such as internships and new classes. Because of the pandemic, I was able to commit myself completely to my internship at New Voters, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to youth civic engagement and high school voter registration. I have already written a post about New Voters and the incredible work they do and I will probably write another before the general election, but, for now, I wanted to reflect on the incredible work environment I was placed in. What on the surface looked like a solid civic engagement internship, turned out to be an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
At the beginning of the summer, I was assigned to the Communications Department because I expressed an interest in the social media accounts. When I first started, there wasn’t a particular timeline for the department, but once my director joined, she had a plan and knew what our summer goals were. I have never had a “boss” because all my traditional authority figures have been teachers so far. Although we were all close in age, our director knew what she was doing and knew how to ensure we reached our full potential as interns and as a team. As weeks passed, we became THE Comms Department. Our director and team of seven interns bonded at weekly meetings and worked together efficiently throughout the week. The Comms team was not built off of fun bonding activities or small talk but was based in our respect for each other. Every intern in my department had impeccable work ethic. We supported each other and offered assistance when needed. Our Comms team worked together on projects and allowed one another to thrive individually as well.
I had never worked with a nonprofit so I was not sure what to expect. From the second I started and met with the president and founder of New Voters, I felt welcomed and excited to begin my work. The team of summer interns were funny and entertaining. We had games nights and weekly department meetings. Although none of us live in one single place, we were connected by our mission. We all knew that the work we were doing was making an impact and, because of that, we were connected by our shared love of civic engagement. Reaching out to people in other departments was never daunting because everyone was so approachable. My fellow interns were always a Slack message away.
New, exciting projects brought forth smaller groups and workspace relationships. The people I worked with closely became my friends. I have met people who are not only coworkers, but mentors. My summer at New Voters has taught me so much about civic engagement and working with a team but it also taught me that every single person brings something special to the mix. I am grateful for the summer I have spent with New Voters because I have made new friends and I did so without even leaving my house. Different projects helped me understand how to work with people and how, sometimes, you just click with them. Despite working this internship through my laptop, I am happy to say that I have made good friends through the screen. Through social media planning, the making of graphics, brainstorming new projects, or meeting with partner organizations, friendships developed. I look forward to my fall semester with this incredible organization and the people who make it special.