Learning more by serving others can give you the increased confidence that will help you work with people in many different fields.
What if you realized you followed your passions and, instead of raking in $15 an hour like all your business friends, you’re making a whopping $0? Before you allow yourself to wallow in the curse of the less-lucrative major, consider the perks that come through committing yourself to a lifetime of public service.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, little emphasis is put on those seeking careers in the arts or public service. However, contrary to popular belief, careers in public service can be highly rewarding. In giving back, you will receive more than a fat check in the form of growth, humbleness and hospitality.
The start of this past summer was daunting as I started, for the first time, two unpaid internships outside of my field of pre-law. While the work doesn’t always pay, taking the risk of an unpaid internship in the non-profit or public-service industry can prove to be a highly gratifying experience. Instead of money, you’re paid in the bonds you create with people you’ll never forget, conversations that facilitate personal growth and knowledge of foundations restored. If given the opportunity to participate in an often non-paid service-learning enrichment, here are just a few of the things you can gain:
Gaining an internship at a non-profit such as the Institute for Humane Studies or the Fanning Institute gives you the opportunity to learn real-world experiences that you may never have been exposed to while cooped up in the office. While calculating risk-management solutions or coding for data-based sites are both beneficial skills to the flow of our economy, nothing can be more rewarding than providing tangible solutions to our community’s problems. Working in public service provides you with the flexible environment needed to critically assess real-world issues.
Working for little pay mobilizes your intrinsic desires as you search inside for your true vision. As you become more comfortable with leadership in sacrifice you will see the benefits that service learning rewards intrinsically. Questioning and answering various disparities within the community is one of the most important steps of personal growth that one can obtain because only through critique and reflection can progress occur.
Learning more about people
Learning more about people can give you the increased confidence that will help you work in any field. Interpersonal skills are the most utilized in careers, whether it be human relations, marketing, consulting or sales. Your experiences raising money for a cause, recruiting sponsors for your programs or managing grassroots events will teach you the best way to relate to people based on their interests — finding ways your vision can accompany theirs. Through the stories heard from connecting intimately with people in your community on campaigns runs or outreach events held by your non-profit of interest, you will grow personally. You’ll learn the true value of the Mom and Pop store on the corner and learn firsthand of the sweat and tears that went into creating that enterprise.
Making a palpable difference
All in all, internships at a non-profit give you the opportunity for community building and restoration. The foundation of our society lies in the hands of those willing to work from the ground up. Through the creative and flexible work environment in public-service professions, you have the rewarding opportunity to become an active agent of social change. A non-paid internship will show you how to proactively use your strengths to work against the machine. Having these unique experiences underneath your belt will make you more open-minded as you become more accepting of individuals’ differences.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Upholding oneself to this standard can definitely prove worthwhile. While you may not make much, you’ll leave with a fresh perspective and a greater appreciation for life and its intricacies.
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