Reflecting on the Past Three Years
Unlike the previous pieces I have written for the Humanities Hub newsletter, usually featuring an individual and some aspect of their professional trajectory, this month I will share a personal reflection on my past three years working as the inaugural internship coordinator for the College of Humanities.
‘Where am I?’ ‘What am I doing?’ ‘How do I want to proceed?’ These are some of the questions I asked myself after arriving at the U, which prompted me to be both intentional and strategic about fulfilling my responsibilities. In my first year, my priority was to introduce myself to students and faculty through in-person meetings and on official college social media platforms. This was an important part of building trust and good rapport, but given the large size of the college, I knew it would take time. However, the introductions and constant support from my new colleagues and supervisor made my transition smoother and faster than I anticipated.
In my second year, my goals included establishing myself as ‘usefully reliable’ to students and faculty and creating at least one signature experience with an on-campus partner. However, with the onset of COVID- 19, these goals lost relevance in the face of unprecedented challenges, including event cancellations, office closures and Zoom fatigue.
“This is a time to reimagine what we do and be innovative with what we have,” my supervisor said to me. Her poignant advice inspired me to be patient with myself, practice self-care and pivot accordingly.
Shortly after my appointments moved online, the recurring theme and requests I heard from my advisees was to limit the information being sent from the school to the students. The combination of tremendous uncertainty and the overwhelming number of campus-wide emails sent out about public health safety measures, COVID figures and causalities was exhausting. In response to their feedback, I trimmed down verbiage in the online internship webpage and created the College of Humanities internship Canvas course, effectively streamlining the delivery of important information.
This tool has allowed me to directly communicate with students while remaining mindful of everyone’s bandwidth, which – as I have gained more confidence in my role – I have found to be of utmost importance. I use the Canvas course primarily to provide students with access to three-to-five internship opportunities that are accepting applications every two weeks, as well as to share weekly announcements about career readiness resources and upcoming networking and panel events.
The past three years have been taxing, but my time in this role has also provided a valuable reminder that compromising, being nimble and acting with kindness are critical for individual and collective success. It will be intriguing to see how students engage with our new resources moving forward and I am excited and optimistic about things unfolding in the college’s internship space in the coming years.