I am very grateful for the opportunity to have interned at the Center for Global Studies. I am especially happy for the chance to have taught some High School kids at Bellefonte. Their obvious ease with grappling with foreign material and the warmth they showed pleasantly surprised me. World Stories Alive was another great experience. The innocent energy that little children have can be very therapeutic (in small doses). Exposing them early on to other cultures is the right step in promoting a more tolerant global village, and I am very happy to have been a part of that.
The approachability of Emily, Mary and Sarah did wonders for my sense of ease while working. The office was always serene and the attitude positive. I can only hope to find a ‘real’ job with such an atmosphere. My fellow interns Rana and Renee were also a joy to work with, and I wish both success in their future ventures.
For my personal growth, I think working at CGS has been very beneficial. It has let me know that with a bit of effort, one can step out of one’s comfort zone in terms of work load, types of activities one undertakes and people one has to interact with. I can not say that I am worse off in any way by having worked here, and I look forward to any other interactions I have with all I have met at CGS in the future.
‘I’ve never been this busy before’. It’s a thought that has occurred to me occasionally since this semester has begun. Each time it comes to me, I take a moment to savor the feeling, to let it marinate. It feels…different. I have an honors thesis (not to mention related requirements) to grapple with, a number of high level classes to take, and now an excellent internship opportunity. As with any change in life, there is a giddying amount of uncertainty involved- will I be able to handle everything adequately?
When I applied to the CGS I had a very specific mental image of what I would be doing. I envisioned a role not unlike a research assistantship position, where most of my engagements would involve technical-level writing around some of the center’s thematic focuses. It was clarified during the job interview that I would not be doing much of that-my first two activities have been hanging up posters around town, and cutting beaks for a children’s arts and crafts project.
I wouldn’t have it any other way, really. The internship represents an opportunity to find out more about myself. I have thrived in the African (Nigerian) workplace; at my previous internship (where I worked for 2 consecutive summers and a gap year) it was not unusual for me to represent the organization at local and international conferences. Working with CGS is a considerable step outside of my comfort zone, and conventional wisdom indicates that such places are where the magic happens in life.
At this point, a bit of context to make the moment more magical is in order. Time and time again while working and at school, I have been struck by the fact that African human capital has not received nearly enough of the investment it needs to create a lasting, positive change. I had mulled this thought over and over; eventually the notion of giving up the career I thought I wanted (the ‘safe’ one) for one focused on equipping future generations became less a hope and more a highlight in my life plan. In the same breath, a fortuitous string of events created an obligation for me to fill in a spot at my church’s Sunday school (let’s just say not many young adults do that). Fast forward to me cutting out paper beaks at a place where I thought I’d be looking up academic journals, and it begins to look like my plans are being validated somehow.
So when thoughts about being busy come, I know they are thoughts of amazement rather than complaint. These might well be the baby steps (forgive the pun) to a legacy that I can be proud of.