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  • mirandan78 7:14 pm on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Multiples of 10 

    To commemorate this as my tenth blog entry on my internship, I have provided my top- ten lists below on the ten things I learned from my internship and the five best experiences from my internship.

    taken from: marlerblog.com

     

    Top Ten things I learned:

    1. 1. Co-workers, for the most part, are understanding of the mistakes you make… as long as you offer to fix them!
    2.  2. Not everyone gets their To Do lists done on-time, which means that it is important to be flexible and patient.
    3. 3. A lot of unforeseen circumstances get in the way of being efficient and productive. Some are avoidable, like making sure you are on task when you should be, but others are not, like a fire drill during an important meeting or having to help track down your boss’ lost piece of luggage when he landed across the country today!
    4. 4. Check your email—religiously!
    5. 5. Do not be afraid to ask questions—or else you will end up showing up to work on Veteran’s Day, like I did last week, only to realize the office is closed!
    6. Be patient with yourself as you learn a new skill, such as how to make colored copies or navigate CRM—a software that maintains information on customers.
    7. Do not be scared to say that you have to leave—sometimes bosses may forget you are a student first and that you have other commitments. This is especially difficult is they are not used to having interns, which was not the case for me, but I have heard it has been for others.
    8. Come prepared to any meeting—as an intern there is a high probability that you will be asked during the meeting to take notes!
    9. Even if you have to take notes, do not pretend you are invisible, and make sure you speak up if there is something important that you noticed. As an intern, you are kind of like an outsider looking in and this unfamiliarity can really benefit the company. 
    10. Say yes and except offers to go on business trips or meetings in DC that will enhance your understanding of the organization and its work.  

    taken from: ideachampions.com

    Top Five Best Experiences

    1. 1. Going to NYC for three days! I felt like such an adult and not an intern—it was a weird feeling. The best part of it was going to tour a high school and an elementary school and talk to the kids!
    2. 2. Discovering the impact that philanthropy has on society—I have a new view of what it takes to make powerful projects, and I am knowledgeable of what some of the most influential philanthropic foundations are interested in, especially in the realm of education reform.
    3. 3. Submitting projects that were actually useful for the organization.
    4. Realizing that I do not want to continue on this career path and be married to a computer screen and a keyboard, but rather work for an organization that affords me more personal interaction with those outside of the company.
    5. Mailing publications to over 350 Dioceses in the nation was time-consuming, but worth it when two of them call you back and you realized you helped them!
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    • lara 3:05 pm on November 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      this is a fantastic post! i love your 10 tips – they will be so helpful for future interns! and your 5 best experiences sound like they made for one awesome internship : )

    • David Fletcher 7:03 pm on November 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Not many interns can claim to have been sent to NYC as part of their work! That is a great experience.

  • mirandan78 10:27 pm on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Am I missing something? 

    taken from: media-one.vn

    There is a recurring theme at my internship of me feeling left out of the loop. The ultimate consequence of this is that I either inform others of incorrect information, or I end up having to re-do assignments I thought I had completed correctly. Is anyone else experiencing the same problem at their internship? Is there soemthing I am missing with this whole communication thing– I try to be very open and willing to complete a variety o taks and I am not afraid to ask questions when I am confused, but I feel like on my supervisor’s end they are forgetting to tell me key things prior to starting an assignment, either that or they assume that I already know how to do the task w/o much guidance. (More …)

     
  • mirandan78 12:04 am on November 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    typing on a train 

    Maybe it is from my lack of sleep over these past few days, but I think my title for this blog post it not that exciting, even though interning this week was the peak of excitement!  The excitement and lack of sleep are related– I had to get up very early from Tuesday-Today (Thursday) because I went to NYC (see earlier blog post) for my internship! It was better than I could have imagined, and it is a great feeling to see all of your hard work in-person, instead of having to hear about it later from my colleagues. Really, my internship could be boring for the next month (I do not think it will be though) and I would still come away from the entire experience happy because I got to go to a meeting and see in-person all of the donors and foundations that I had done extensive research and made many phone calls, too. (More …)

     
  • mirandan78 11:34 pm on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    time flies when… 

    WOW. I cannot believe next week is already November! Maybe, it is the warm weather that is tricking me or the late daylight savings day this year, but it really feels like I just started my internship a few weeks ago. Thus, this post is dedicated to the concept of time, and how it always seems to fly by at work when I need to get something done really quickly.

     

    istockphoto.com

     

     

    I think part of the reason I never feel as though time goes by really fast at work is because I always have multiple tasks to do. This is good at helping me develop my prioritizing skills, but it also makes it difficult to stand back and feel proud of what I did for the day because the day feels as though it is never going to end and the tasks just keep coming. I am glad that I am extremely busy at my internship, but I just realized that as much as I enjoy this aspect, it would be nice to have a balance. I think my feeling of personal accomplishment will come when I go to NYC and see the entire meeting in action, but right now it is just a lot of preparation that feels like it could go on forever!

    Today is a great example of this because  after a month I am still working on completing donor research on the attendees for the upcoming meeting. I mean I have not been working on it 24/7, but it has been something I tried to tackle in small pieces every day. The problem is that I think I made more work for myself by dividing it up like this because now I actually know what I should be writing about each person. It is stressful, because Thursday– the next day  I work– is when the research needs to be completed, and I still have about 100 people to write about! I do not understand why it took me so long to do research on only 1/2 of the people today. This is frustrating because I really thought I could finish it today!

    I keep reassuring myself that I will finish it, and reminding myself of what my mom told me– the work will always be there the next day and sometimes you just have to leave. I appreciate my mom for giving me this advice as I think it will aid me in any employment opportunity that I partake in. I am realizing that time is uncontrollable (as obvious as that sounds), and that I need to accept this and work as hard as I can in the time that I do have at work.

     
  • mirandan78 1:44 am on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    New York City– Here I come! 

    Since I started at work, I have been working on preparations, like donor research, mailing guidebooks, and making phone calls to foundations, for an upcoming meeting in NYC on urban Catholic schools. The meeting brings together philanthropists and experts so that their ideas can converge and be shared, and, hopefully, donors leave feeling as though they have gained valuable information on how to ensure that Catholic schools can still exist and provide a great educational option for inner-city youth.

    Central Park

    The meeting will be held for two days and consists of a site visit to a charter school and breakout sessions where specific topics will be discussed, and I have been invited to attend and help my co-workers so that the event runs smoothly.  How cool is that?! I never imagined I would be going to NYC when I picked this internship. (More …)

     
  • mirandan78 1:24 am on October 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    The Human Touch 

    I realize that the whole concept of blogging is to aid students in the introspective process so that they begin to analyze and understand the parts of their job that they like and those that they do not. However, I think I think about thinking prior to even blogging! Every day on the metro ride home I always think about how my day went, and if it was an interesting, not so interesting, or boring day. I have not had any boring days yet! But, I have had some not-so-interesting ones. But then they are toppled by those that are interesting so I think it balances out… I know, my philosophy is confusing 🙂

    Any ways, I want this entry to have a cohesive point so that you are not reading and it and beginning to think that I have nothing concrete to say about my job. I am a very critical person, though, and so it makes it difficult for me to see the areas of my internship that I enjoy at first. Usually I do not feel as though my work has really made an impact unless I gain some type of human touch from it. Sounds like something weird? Well, if you are intrigued read on: (More …)

     
  • mirandan78 2:40 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Lending a hand 

    As an intern, I feel as though there is a cycle of having to do many tasks and then not knowing what to do. This has happened to me twice in the last three weeks. Last week I was bombarded with tasks to complete, and today I found myself asking everyone if they needed help. Initially, this feeling is frustrating because I wish I had a set schedule of tasks I needed to do– something like a syllabus. I mean, who can blame me for wanting this sort of structure when we grow up with teachers telling us what our homework is and professors handing out course schedules on the first day of class.

    At my first internship last semester, I was very hesitant to ask others if they needed help, more so because I was afraid I would do the task wrong and they would either end up having to do it over or I would end up getting in “trouble”– in the sense that I would look bad in the eyes of my co-workers for making a silly and  avoidable mistake.

    taken from: usmansheikh.com

    However, at my current internship I have realized that I will only get out of it what I put in and I am always asking around the office where I can help out. (More …)

     
    • David Fletcher 4:23 am on October 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Miranda- You have brought up one of the best ways to standout at your internship; and be asked to return for another semester or better still- be offered a full time position; by making yourself impossible to replace.

      By pitching in, you create a situation where your employer cannot imagine what they will do when you are not working there. And the only way to do it is to ask how you can be of help whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to undertake challenges so long as your regular duties do not suffer. Offer to do the little things, the dirty work, or the things no one else wants to do. They will notice, even when you think they don’t.

  • mirandan78 1:05 am on September 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Trial and Error 

    So if any of you read my post from last week where I talked about stuffing envelopes, the task continued and is finally over today! But I am not going to rant about this task in my blog post because it turned out to be not as bad as it may seem. Yes, I was  overheated from lifting heavy boxes of books and envelopes around the office, and yes, I had a few mishaps (some addresses had the city on the label twice!), but I was able to resolve them and it actually made me feel more confident afterward– in my envelope stuffing abilities and in my know-how of how to work office tools and where things are located. (More …)

     
  • mirandan78 12:27 am on September 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    a typical versus atypical day 

    The most challenging and amazing thing about working at a nonprofit is the amount of responsibility and tasks that one is given. I started my internship on Tuesday, August 24 and here is a list of the typical intern tasks and non-typical tasks I have been given:

    Typical:

    1. Making copies and learning that printers are a pain in the you-know-what!
    2. Using mail merge
    3. Stuffing over 300 envelopes with the articles that I had a very difficult time printing out
    4. Database entry
    5. Becoming BFF’s with excel

    Not-so-typical intern tasks

    1. Making copies of an article that is going to be sent to all of the bishops in the USA
    2. Developing a logo to be placed on the labels that in mail merge
    3. Yea.. I do not have a cool thing to add about stuffing envelopes— sorry
    4. Researching about donors and organizations that are working to improve education in the USA and the major grants that they have given in order to do so and then putting this information into the database
    5. Besides becoming BFF’s with excel which is not too awesome– I have been given tasks to complete like creating a TFA memo that would influence a donor’s decision to invest in them or not, sitting in on a strategic planning session about the future of my organization and learning the in’s and out’s of marketing a company effectively and resource allocation (I had never heard the term marginal cost thrown around so many times since I took AP Econ in high school!), and creating a guidebook for donors on successful advocacy organizations in the education reform movement in America.

    So basically, my atypical tasks, or those that I did not expect and am glad I was given, definitely outweigh those typically ones and make interning 20 hours a week an insightful and exciting experience!

    That’s all for now : )

     
    • David Fletcher 3:56 am on September 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What you may be unpleasantly surprised to learn is that of all the cool things you are learning to do at your internship employer, the one skill that may be most important to get you hired, is the least favorite of your new found talents – Excel. At least it isn’t envelope stuffing!

      So many of us get a very unpleasant look on our faces when talking about learning Excel. The level of discomfort is somewhere between public speaking and dental work without Novacaine. Many of us chose degrees without math or looked to study as little of it as we could get away with. But what we discover is that non-profits, development organizations, federal government agencies, embassies, think tanks, and of course corporations all have a very strong focus on funding. Budgets, expense reports, and balance sheets are vital for proposing, tracking, and reporting financial expenditures.

      Actually knowing how to track project expenses utilizing Excel or how to write grant proposals are great ways to be more competitve when you are looking for a full time job in the near future. Congratulations on your new BFF and best of luck!

  • mirandan78 11:58 pm on September 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: background, , intro   

    Welcome to my World 

    Hello there 🙂

    I always find blogging funky, but I hope after this first session I am a little more comfortable writing about my working life this semester. Here is some info about me, just in case you were wondering…

    My name is Miranda, and this semester I completing my second internship, and if you are wondering about my last internship and how it compares to my current one, do not worry! I am planning on doing a quick compare/ contrast for one of these posts so stay tuned!

    Other facts: I am a sophomore with a major in International Relations, concentrating on development and Latin America, but this information is not as pertinent for my current internship because my Education Minor is the focus of my internship.  Focus as in I am getting 6 credits for this internship that will go towards my minor! I know pretty awesome! I never planned on minoring in anything, let alone education, but it has already opened up so many great opportunities for me that I know it was definitely the right choice– PHEW!

    So, as you may have guessed my internship is in education. I am the k-12 Intern at a nonprofit in DC… not very descriptive yet so if you are still interested keep reading!

    (More …)

     
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