For the past few years, I’ve had a theory for myself that every other summer starting from 2016 will be a great one. 2016, 2018, and 2020 (despite the pandemic) all proved this to be true in their own ways, and so going into last summer (2022), I was excited to see what good would come. An internship that takes up a good chunk of your time in the summer, where you could otherwise just be hanging out and enjoying not being in school, does not sound that great. At least it didn’t to me. But it’s required to graduate, and so I started looking for positions that would work with my business marketing program. I hoped to find something fulfilling and not focused on just money. Thankfully in my search, I found Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity.
I tend to be a more quiet and reserved person when first starting out around a new group of people, and that was the case at Lakeshore Habitat. But not for long. From the start, I was welcomed in with open arms and a positive essence that I soon realized was not fleeting, but engrained into the culture. I was given guidance, tasks, and a place/role on the team in week one. From there it was a sort of blossoming period, where I became more and more familiar with how things worked, the guidance would dissipate, my independence would increase, and my tasks would, in my opinion, become more meaningful and contribute more. Whereas some workplaces try to force you out of your shell to fit in or leave you inside of it to fade into the background, Lakeshore Habitat has created an environment where you feel comfortable to reveal your talents and quirks at your own pace and in your own way.
Aside from the positive and emotionally safe space aspects of being at Lakeshore Habitat, there is so much I have learned and been given the opportunity to explore in my time here. The structure of the internship program allowed me to really mold the experience into something that was specific to my interests and what I see as my talents. This made the work more meaningful to me than it already was, since I knew that I was growing as an individual by trying to help the projects grow as collectives. All the meetings, events, and days in the office, the ReStore, and on the build sites provided an all encompassing and comprehensive view of the organization, and its many functions that just would not have been visible at a lot of other places. To say it more simply, this internship provided me with so many perspectives, resources, and opportunities that I am grateful to have had.
Last summer with Lakeshore Habitat, I learned a lot of new skills. But on top of that I learned a lot about myself as well. Being surrounded by such fun and hardworking people with really good hearts has had an impact on my own work ethic and has expanded my capacity for empathy and compassion. That’s the biggest takeaway that I can say I have had by being embraced into this team. Everyday wasn’t always fun or exciting, but every day meant something. And that’s why even if your school or program does not require that you complete an internship I would still recommend, if possible, applying for an interning position at Lakeshore Habitat at some point in your academic career. I’m happy to report that my theory still stands true, and that this past summer was another great one, in its own way.
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