When I found out I was going to DC for the summer, I knew it was going to be an amazing opportunity for me, but what I did not know was just how life changing it was going to be. Not only did I learn new things about myself, but I also found a supportive community within my cohort and within the organization I worked with as well. In just 8 weeks I’ve seen how much I’ve grown both professionally and personally. 

When I arrived in DC, there were two things I was most concerned about. How much would my lack of experience in communications negatively affect my internship? And would I get along with my cohort? I was entering so much uncharted territory with this fellowship. It was my first time in DC and my first internship. Knowing we were all working at different organizations, I worried that it’d be difficult for me to bond with the people in my cohort. I feared that we’d be so busy with our separate organizations, opportunities for us to come together outside of the fellowship events would be limited. And 8 weeks later, I can happily say that I had no reason to worry about either of those things.  

When it comes to my internship, everyone at National League of Cities (NLC) was so supportive, kind, and invested in seeing me grow and succeed. My aforementioned lack of experience in communications wasn’t a problem at all. The communications boot camp provided by the fellowship helped me get a better understanding of the potential work I’d be doing at NLC, and with NLC’s supportive environment, I felt comfortable enough asking for help when there was something I was unsure how to do. Everyone was more than willing to teach and guide me and I was very open to learning whatever I could from them. I received amazing advice when it comes to thinking about life postgrad and how to set my career goals. Not only did I learn about working in communications but I learned that not everyone’s career path is linear and it is important to take any opportunity that comes your way even if it doesn’t seem like a good fit at first. Everything is a learning experience. My time at NLC opened so many doors for me, not just with networking, but with seeing a potential career for myself in communications. This glimpse of what life postgrad can be like made me excited for what my future holds. 

And when it comes to my cohort, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend my summer with. There was just an instant connection between us and we all instantaneously became close. These people weren’t just people in my cohort, they were my friends. We were there for each other not just to vent about work but on a personal level as well. We were all going through similar experiences and it was comforting knowing that I wasn’t going through this alone. We created the perfect balance of work and play. While we all separately went to work, we spent our free time together exploring DC and fully taking advantage of this unique opportunity bestowed upon us. I never felt lonely in DC because I had such wonderful people around me. Thanks to this fellowship, not only have I found a potential career but I’ve made lifelong friends.