Hi everyone! It has been more than an entire month since my last/first post and since I started my internship! I cannot believe that July is over and that in less than two weeks, some of us might be back on campus, starting our classes, and preparing for a new and interesting academic year. Although everything seems so unprecedented and unknown, I am relieved in knowing that I will be approaching this new semester with a stronger and confident understanding of my passions, identities, and of my world.
Over these past months, Liz and I have been working diligently in creating engaging videos explaining climate change and its connections to racial justice, as well as crafting a video that narrates our respective journeys in the climate justice movement. Each week, we started off our internship meeting on Monday mornings with our supervisor, Russ. Throughout these meetings, Russ would ask us to share how we spent our past week/weekend, allow us to vent about anything for three minutes, and bring up any cool or interesting news and events occurring within Climate Action Now or greater out in the world. I really appreciate that Russ set time aside to get to know us better as individuals before interns; I’ve also gotten to know Liz and Russ better through these meetings and they have gotten to learn more about me, which has been a great way to compensate for the lack of physical interaction. Afterwards, Liz and I finished updating our supervisor on the progress we have done and received feedback from Russ, we set general goals together for next week. However, Liz and I took the initiative to plan daily morning meetings to set goals for the day for ourselves and check-in with each other if we need help or we want to share our progress. These daily meetings have definitely helped me stay accountable and motivated for do my work, as well as letting me know Liz more closely.
In my previous post, I mentioned that though my internship has been pretty flexible and self-driven, I struggled a lot with finding a structure (and actually forcing myself to do work) and, thus, ensuring that my internship experience was not so much of a monotonous experience. I’m proud to say that I have managed to somewhat solve these problems by finding opportunities that enrich my internship experience. Over the past months, I have helped spread awareness about upcoming elections, the Census, and COVID-19 relief resources in NYC. For instance, I helped to campaign for progressive candidates, such as Charles Booker and AOC, by conducting online phone banks. In addition, I joined the Resistance Reading Club, a club organized by a couple of Amherst students who took hold of the BLM to come together as a community, read and discuss literature by Black authors. I was fortunate enough to engage in meaningful, thought-provoking conversations with some of my peers and come out with a better understanding of how racism works and the effects of it on our beliefs of America. Since much of the work that Liz and I do involves researching, collecting info, writing scripts and creating videos, it can get pretty boring focusing all of my day on iMovie or just “in my laptop”. Therefore, finding opportunities to do meaningful work and connecting with other communities online has really enriched my experience as a Climate Action Now intern.
As I wrap up the last week of my internship, I am taking the time to reflect on the things that did and did not go well, and how I plan to bring what I learned back to campus. This internship, though as rewarding as it was, had its many challenges. For one, it required me to adapt to new circumstances such as working from home, creating my own schedule, staying on top of my work, and working mostly by myself. Some days, I felt like the videos that I was creating would not affect anyone, that my work was pointless and there was no reason to put in effort into it. Or, on the contrary, I feared that I was falling behind my other peers because my internship experience paled in comparison to theirs. To be honest, I often struggled to rebound from these worries and return to “work mode”. However, if there’s anything I learned throughout this pandemic, it is that there is no “normal” anymore. Everyone is navigating these times differently and at their own pace, but along the way, we have found methods to cope with our new normality. For me, that meant remaining honest with myself and with others about my struggles. It also meant reaching out to people and communities who would uplift me and remind me why I am passionate about the causes I care strongly about. Moving onward to my fall semester of my sophomore year, I am now less worried about the struggles that I’ll be facing, and instead, I am preparing to welcome and adapt to these new circumstances.
I am wishing everyone a great start for their fall semester, whether you be studying remotely or not! Don’t forget to stay uplifted and connected with each other!