How’d I Get Here?

In response to a comment, I’ll mention how I got here. An advertisement for an open internship in the Children and Youth program of the Search for Common Ground was sent out on the SIS listserv sometime in December (naturally, in the midst of finals and the associated confusion; I must thank fellow blogger Mohsin for goading me to apply). As requested, I submitted my resume and cover letter via email and waited. I know that positions here tend to attract some significant numbers of applicants, so I gave them some time before attempting a follow-up.

Before I had to do that, though, I received an email from someone in a different program at SFCG: the Institutional Learning Team. The head of the Children and Youth program had forwarded my application materials, believing that I might be a better fit for the ILT program. Long story short, I soon interviewed and was offered the internship on the spot. I consider this eventuality a matter of luck rather than merit. My resume is not so crammed with past internships, relevant employment, research assistantships, international experience, and the like (as it seems the resumes of many of my peers are). It so happened that two skills happened to fit well with the duties of the ILT intern. One was experience producing interactive online training modules. This was part of my undergraduate student employment in the library computer lab. The other was working on an academic journal (a journal of Victorian literature, not international affairs!). Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the cramming of my resume with relevant experience. The moral of the story, though, is that even if you don’t think you are a competitive candidate for a position, your past experiences can qualify you in ways you are unaware of.

So, here I am. Week two. I’ve just completed the rough outline of one training module on the use of mixed research methods. These modules are part of a large project known as the Learning Portal. The Learning Portal is going to be a resource open to the wider field of peace practitioners (not just SFCG) to share and distill best practices, lessons, tools, and experiences. The thought of my work contributing to the open availability of information that will improve efforts in conflict resolution and peacebuilding is perhaps the most exciting part of my work here so far. I’m not only learning about practice, I’m contributing to practice.