Blog Post III
My internship with the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce has changed a lot since the beginning of June. At the beginning of June there were all of these ideas, projects, and possibilities that Winsome and I would be working on, thinking of, and trying to create for the Chamber. The beginning of the internship began much more idealistic than the end turned out to be, which in my opinion happens in every not-for-profit internship. Everyone in a not-for-profit job or internship, generally, wants to make some significant change so they have all of these big ideas, a crazy amount of energy for projects, and overwhelming positivity – at the start. Though, in my experience at the Chamber, these characteristics remain, they are over-powered by the necessity of day-to-day tasks.
My biggest take away or lesson that I have learned this summer through my internship is the balance of passion and day-to-day tasks. A lot of the daily tasks that are performed at the Chamber, and I assume at most other offices, can become extremely monotonous and routine and may slow down the organization’s ability to complete these big long term projects, especially when you are in a small office like the Chamber. Although everyone is still working to achieve these big goals the day-to-day tasks, the troubleshooting, and life events makes these big ideas and project grow at a slower rate than an idealistic student would want to believe.
When I started this internship I was overflowing with ideas and energy. At the end of it, I still am overflown with ideas and projects, but the energy that I have for them has been reduced to the practical level of me needing to complete my daily tasks, finish my long-term project, and work within the reality of what the Chamber can do with my ideas. All of my ideas and personally led projects have become more pragmatic than at the start of my internship. They are focused on trying to expand the marketing and advertisement capabilities of the Chamber without needing much effort; essentially a simplified formula that can put out massive social media posts and alerts with very minimal effort and time. The reality of this office is that everyone always has to do a task, whether it is a day-to-day task or a brief moment to work on a big picture project or goal. Trying to add or expand an additional task means that it needs to be as comprehensive and efficient as possible so that it does not get lost or forgotten by the necessity of finishing the daily tasks.
I feel like this lesson is one that anyone interested in going into the not-for-profit or civil service world should have. Having dreams and ideas form into reality take time, sometimes a lot of time. After this internship I full heartily support the idea that if you are going to fight for a change make sure that you have true passion for it, because you will need self-igniting endurance to actually see it form into a reality. The people who work for the Chamber and other not-for-profits have a lot of strength in them because they work daily to see their ideas become reality, though they do not reap the rewards and they don’t get them right away. It has really been a great pleasure to work with them and see their small victories happen now, building to larger ones later. It makes me excited to see where I could be in ten years, hopefully working in a civil service capacity or not-for-profit organization.