Balancing it all: Advice for the intern that takes my place

By Devin Taylor

Although I won’t reveal who it is in this blog post, I’ve been able to secure a Ferst Foundation intern for the summer and fall semesters (yay!). My entire life (or so it feels) has revolved around the Ferst Foundation for the past two semesters, so as it comes time for me to graduate, finding a successor to fill in for me was at the top of my list of priorities. I truly care about this organization; I’ve worked closely with the Volunteer Coordinator and spent numerous long hours working on building the Ferst presence in the Columbus area, so I want to ensure that it continues to thrive in the future. For this blog post, I’d like to take time to compile a list of advice I have for the intern who will replace me.

  1. The most important thing, I think, is to make a commitment to the organization to do whatever you can to help it grow. There are several circumstances that will help you here. First, this organization’s mission is one that is universal: helping to create a more educated society (and in doing so, helping solve a host of other societal problems). Because of this, more people will be willing to aid in the Ferst mission, whether that means donating, getting involved, or simply helping to spread the word. I truly don’t believe there is a person out there who could honestly say that they don’t support the Ferst Foundation cause. In addition, the Volunteer Coordinator, Warren Steele, will basically grant you free reign to focus your energy wherever you want, as long as it’s on helping to grow the organization, and as long as you communicate with him (although the internship does include several written standards that must be met). Use this free reign to develop innovative strategies with which to spread the word about the Ferst Foundation. Lastly, you’re a student at CSU, and that, in itself, gives you countless resources. Free printing, professors who have valuable connections in the area, access to technology that will help you produce top-notch materials. You’re lucky: other interns might be made to make copies or go on coffee runs, but you have the opportunity to truly make a difference in the success of the Muscogee Ferst Foundation. Use it.
  1. As you know, this internship is a different one: instead of reporting to a local office building and clocking in to log your hours, you get to work from home and keep track of your hours by yourself. You must log 150 hours, as stipulated by the internship outline, and that means 10 hours per week. Don’t fall behind on these. Because there’s no one there to make sure you’re being productive, you have got – I repeat – you HAVE GOT to be disciplined and make sure you devote ample time to Ferst. As I’ve explained before, my world revolved around the Ferst Foundation this semester. That said, I understand that future interns may not be as focused on the Ferst Foundation as I was (I had to be – I didn’t have a choice), so my number one concern is that they stay diligent. To keep track of hours, create an Excel spreadsheet and be sure to log the times you started and finished working on Ferst-related things, as well as the dates. This will greatly aid you when it comes times to submit your hours in order to receive a grade. Personally, I spread my hours out over the course of five days each week – Monday through Friday – which translated to two hours per day. That’s very doable, and won’t leave you feeling overworked at the end of the week. Because you work from home, these two hours could fall at any time during the day, depending on what task you’re working on. Frequently, I worked on tasks during the evening and into the night, because that was most convenient to me. This internship gives you a beautiful thing in its flexibility; just be sure to stay on top of things.
  1. Understand that with this internship opportunity, you have the power to unlock a vast amount of career opportunities for yourself after graduation. You have the opportunity to get real-world experience, and this is no joke. If you want to learn a certain skill to use in a future career, learn it in terms of the Ferst Foundation (this semester I wanted to develop my skills in maintaing media relations, so I helped foster a relationship between local media and the Muscogee Ferst Foundation). If there’s something in particular you feel you don’t quite understand or want to learn more about, don’t hesitate to ask. Your supervisor is a retired Senior Vice President of Aflac, so he has tons of great experience you can personally learn from. What it boils down to is this: if you work hard and do everything you can to benefit the Ferst Foundation, you will in turn be benefitting yourself.

This internship is challenging, academically and professionally, but it’s very doable. The only thing that will determine how much progress you’re able to make on behalf of the Ferst Foundation is your own will to do so; there are no other obstacles in your way. Take this opportunity and run with it. You’ll be so happy you did. Of course, if you ever have any questions or feel you’ve reached a road block, don’t hesitate to call me. Although I’m moving on, the Ferst Foundation is close to my heart and I’m always happy to help in any way I can. Good luck!

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