Diary of an Intern: Maeghan’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 1
July 23rd, 2014 | Comment
Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Maeghan Livingston! She completed her summer internship. Maeghan’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Maeghan will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.
Let’s learn what Maeghan discovered about herself and the experience at Teach for America in Nashville.
My time in Nashville, TN has sadly come to an end! I really enjoyed my time in music city and there are a few reflective thoughts I would like to share with you about my experience.
While working with Teach for America, I learned a lot about myself. My passion for education continued to burn as my concern for social justice was deepened. One of the lessons that I took home from my internship was the importance of having difficult conversations. Throughout the summer, many corps members grappled with the content presented at our diversity training sessions. These conversations surrounding race, socioeconomic status, micro-aggressions, and other sensitive topics continued at dinner and in other public spaces. As a black female interacting with my white counterparts, I learned how to navigate emotionally charged conversations to reach shared understanding. Though difficult, both parties in the interaction had the opportunity to reconcile differences and work towards our common goal, equipping us to be the best for our students. I did not know how “gifted”, for lack of another term, I was at calmly challenging the perspectives of others, while effectively “calling them out” in love and then “calling them into” a shared vision.
The most important thing that I learned about myself was the depth of my capacity to learn and grow, specifically when pushed outside of my comfort zone. This summer I was challenged professionally, spiritually and personally. I was offered an array of different perspectives on topics that vary from classroom management, to religion and culture, to professionalism. I was able to learn from everyone, whether we agreed or not, and then successfully use constructive criticism to push myself to a place of deeper understanding. In my one-on-one sessions with my manager, we talk candidly about my strengths and weaknesses professionally. These conversations were not always comfortable, but no one obtains true growth inside of their comfort zones. I realized that I had become somewhat comfortable with whom I was as a person but I yearned to grow and experience the world in new ways. The only way that I can continue to do this is if I push myself into unlikely places and situations; this is where I learn who I really am and what I am truly capable of. For me, with God, the sky is the limit!
This upcoming year is my last at Mother So Dear, so I plan to improve as a student and campus leader by strategically working to further develop my strengths and address my weaknesses. The strengths that I identified in myself this summer are in organization and administration skills, as well as in networking and relationship skills. One thing that continues to challenge me is balancing tasks and time management. As I learn to better manage my time, I will be more effective in organizing and presenting project ideas within my organizations and in the classroom. I was reminded this summer that I am a “process thinker”, in other words, I do not come up with great solutions in high pressure and time crunched situations, although I am great with implementing the idea once it is developed. I come up with better solutions and results when I have time to think and work through details.
One of the things that I enjoyed most about my internship with Teach for America was the people that I got to interact with every day. They each had unique talents, experiences, backgrounds that I could appreciate and learn from. Our top managing director had amazing leadership skills that I hope to model in some ways. One of the corps members had an unmatched zest for life and fun. Sometimes we need to be reminded to live a little. Some of the corps member had uprooted their families and left the other professional jobs to come teach underprivileged youth. I admire their selflessness and dedication to social justice. These are just a few examples, but I hope to exemplify these traits and attitudes in my work and studies.
Maeghan Livingston ’15 – Sociology major
Category: Professional Development