Welcome to my internship blog! My goal for this blog is to share how my job as a Strengths Assistant in the Career Center at Luther will help me in my new role as an intern for Humanity and Inclusion (HI) this January in Silver Spring, MD. In this first post, I will introduce myself and why I chose to intern for HI. I hope that Luther community members who read this such as students or even prospective students will learn from the stories I share and gain knowledge on Strengths, finding an internship, and life outside of Luther.
Strengths at Luther College
This is my second year as a Strengths Assistant in the Career Center at Luther College. I was introduced to the Strengths Finder assessment at the beginning of my first year when I was deciding my major. Understanding my Strengths (Woo, Communication, Positivity, Input, Ideation) has helped me learn more about what type of job I would enjoy and what I want to do after I graduate Luther. I learned that the combination of my top two Strengths (Woo and Communication) make it easy for me to put myself ‘out there’ in social gatherings, influence people, and tell stories. My other three Strengths help me greatly as a student, to stay in a positive mindset (Positivity), to enjoy the learning process (Input), and to formulate ideas and connections between topics in the classroom (Ideation). I also love to change things up, and not do what I have always done (Ideation). By the end of my first year, I had a better understanding of myself because of the Strengths Program. When I saw that there was an opening to become a Strengths Assistant, I eagerly applied and started the job at beginning of my sophomore year.
Choosing a Major
During my first year as a Strengths Assistant I learned a lot about all of the other 34 Strengths, and how each and every Strength in unique and is needed in the world. During the fall, I also began my application to study abroad in Nottingham, England (this is a year long study abroad opportunity for Luther students during their Junior year). Once again, by being rooted in my Strengths I was able to hone in on what made me unique and stand out from others who were applying. I found out that November (2016) that I was accepted into the Nottingham Program and I was so excited. During that same time, I declared a major in International Studies (IS), an interdisciplinary major at Luther College that has three core classes in Anthropology, Political Science, and Economics. Students in this major choose a region or theme that they will study and then go abroad for at least a semester, for me it was two semesters! This major made sense to me, because I loved a combination of majors, and I did not want to feel stuck in one field of study (I was able to incorporate my Ideation and Input to create an IS major that fit my interests). The IS major made it possible for me to explore a range of classes that I enjoy and to choose what focus I wanted.
Year Abroad: Nottingham, England
In August of 2017 I remember feeling nervous and anxious about what my future would hold as I packed my bags to fly ‘across the pond’ to London, England to start the Nottingham Program. I had never been to England, yet alone Europe, and this would be the longest I would ever be away from home. Nonetheless I was determined to go, with my visa in hand and bags packed, on September 8, 2017 I left Minneapolis airport and flew to London. By the end of the Nottingham Program on June 8, I didn’t want to leave. I had grown to love Nottingham and living in Europe independently (I used my Woo, Communication, and Positivity to meet friends and see new places). I had also started volunteering with a local social enterprise called Think for the Future (TFTF) and was asked by one of the mentors to become a workshop presenter for the summer. I was reluctant at first, thinking that I should maybe go back to Minnesota to see my family, but the other half of me thought that this may be my last chance to stay in England and be independent. So I went for it. I interviewed and got the job and stayed in Nottingham for two more months of the summer, until August 10, 2018. That summer I was presenting to teenagers (15-18 years old) on ‘Self-esteem’ and ‘Finding Your Future.’ I was able to speak about my experiences as an American coming to the UK, the feelings I had of apprehension before, and the confidence I gained by the end (This job allowed me to meet new young people every week, which allowed my Woo and Communication to thrive). All of it was because I took risks and got outside of my comfort zone. Leaving TFTF was really hard in August, but I knew I needed to move back to America and adjust to the time change before my senior year started at the end of August, so I said goodbye to my friends in England and flew back mid August (I was able to keep a positive mindset about the future, by combining Positivity and Ideation: I brainstormed all the new and exciting things to come for my senior year instead of looking at the negatives of moving back).
Senior Year: Building My Resume
This past fall, I have enjoyed returning to Luther College and working as a Strengths Assistant again. I also have had amazing opportunities to attend conferences, one was even in Washington, DC. That conference was called PLEN: Women in Health Policy. Thanks to a scholarship I received from a Luther alumni, who is on the PLEN Board of Directors, I was able to afford to attend the conference November 1-3, 2018. During this time. I also had recently found out about the Luther Alumni Internship opportunity for the month of January and had started my application to intern with HI. I emailed the Luther contact, Sara Goldberg, and she offered to meet with me before the conference. When we met at her work location in Silver Spring, MD, I found out that she also went on the Nottingham Program aobut twenty years before me! We got along well that day and I learned more about the organization and their mission. After meeting her, I was hoping to get the internship, and waited patiently for a month until I got the good news!
Once I received the acceptance from HI, I emailed back to confirm that I wanted it and quickly sorted out my flight to DC and my housing arrangements. I have found that I enjoy making travel plans and am able to act quick and find cheap flights due to my desire to take in information and brainstorm possibilities. Additionally, I applied for a scholarship with the Career Center to help with the costs. At Luther, each student is allowed to receive funding for one internship while they attend Luther through the Career Center.
I am anxiously waiting for the new year to start to fly out to DC. This time, unlike when I was nervous traveling Nottingham, I am excited for my solo adventure to DC. I know I will learn a lot by interning with HI and I will also have time to explore the DC area. I am excited to see how else I can leverage my Strengths at my internship this January and how that will help encourage other Luther community members to know themselves and thrive at what they are doing!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing more in the new year!