I cannot believe that eight weeks went by so quickly. The first day of the Fellowship is still so fresh in my mind; I was anxiously waiting to virtually meet everyone and learn about public interest communications. I was excited for my internship, but I had no idea what to expect. As someone with no background in communications, my experience this summer taught me a lot.
I learned the importance of telling personal stories when talking about social issues. In a world where every issue seems to be so polarized, from wearing masks to making TikTok videos, I’ve noticed how impactful stories can be in strategic communications campaigns. People take sides without the proper context and generalize movements without listening to the human voices behind these issues. Stories are so important, and we need to remember that before we can act, we must first listen to both the facts and personal stories behind an issue. Through listening, we can learn and educate ourselves, so that we can act more effectively on these issues and do our part to help resolve them. Stories have the power to help us to think beyond politics and to feel compassion and empathy.
Besides learning how to be a better advocate, I also learned the importance of being an effective communicator in the workplace. Navigating a remote workplace is hard. Here are some of the things I learned: 1) Everyone has their own style of communicating. Some people like email, others like phone calls, others prefer instant messaging. My advice: Ask each person you work with what method of communication they prefer. 2) Set clear expectations from the start. When you’re given a new assignment, ask about the format, deadline and if there are examples you can reference.
I’m happy that I was able to learn about both communications and professionalism during my internship this summer. I’ve become a better storyteller and professional and feel empowered to be the change I want to see in the world.