As a year, 2020 has been hard – for everyone. For me, it has been especially challenging, as it seemed all of the things I had been working and planning for, for so long, were falling apart. My junior year study-abroad abruptly ended, and with it, my chance to travel to London, as well as my research trip to Germany for my senior year honors project. The summer job I looked forward to for the entire year, coaching the summer swim league, was delayed, then cancelled. My parents just kept saying, “at least you have an internship. A lot of college students don’t have one anymore.” I nodded and sulked back to my room, wishing I was still in Europe, still on campus, or still with my friends.
But honestly, my HERO internship has been a phenomenal experience and the best part of my summer. The atmosphere of the HERO family is amazing. Each and every person has made me feel welcomed, valued, and has taught me so much. I began not really knowing what I was going to be doing. I assumed there would be some social media posts, editing of posts, basic remedial, busy work. What I have received is so much more. I’ve learned how to use different software, created my own social media, made infographics, and put out the monthly brief (quick plug to go check them out!). HERO took me in as a member of the team, as a vital role in their well-oiled machine. I have sat in on team meetings and given my feedback about past Think Tanks and the upcoming Forum, and through it all, I have gained confidence as a young professional.
My summer internship with HERO has given me more than I could have imagined during my initial meeting with HERO President Karen Moseley in early June. It has allowed me to see the type of role I want after college graduation in April, gain many marketable skills, and dip my toe into the world of public health (and I actually enjoyed it!). More than anything though, I learned how to make a difference, I learned the type of professional climate I want and deserve to work in when I’m older. HERO makes a difference every day. They promote what is best for people, for employers, employees, companies, and I think that is amazing. The research and resources provided to HERO members are there to make the workplace happier, healthier, and safer, which is much needed, especially now. I also know that I will always want to work with people who are as caring, driven, helpful, vulnerable, and full of passion as the HERO team.
The HERO team is more than a team, it’s a family. I am so grateful I was welcomed in with open arms for the summer. This has been such an unforgettable experience, one I don’t take for granted, one that I will carry with me as I enter the job search.