Unconventional would be the first word I’d use, to sum up, this semester. School was online, internships were online, social gatherings were online, and, for some, even Thanksgiving took place online. Despite the unconventional nature of this past year, I think several takeaways don’t make this semester a complete and utter wash, specifIcally those centering around my internship.
Interning this semester with Buffalo Rising was a blessing in disguise for a multitude of reasons. 1) I had the opportunity to speak with individuals from all walks of life throughout Buffalo, 2) I was able to collaborate with several colleagues, and 3) I learned the difficult reality of what it’s like to work from home.
Starting with the most difficult aspect of my internship, aka working from home, I have learned an enormous amount about my personal work ethic and the environment in which I thrive. As I have stated a million times, working remotely has its fair amount of distractions, difficulties, and, definitely, disappointments. However, in moving forward with other internships and eventually jobs, I know that I do not function well, working alone and from home. My best work comes from being in a collaborative, in-person environment where ideas come more fluently and naturally. At the end of the day though, no matter my environment, I will always find a way to get the work done.
Collaborating is the next big skill I feel as though I have taken away from working at Buffalo Rising. Every morning I participated in an editorial meeting where the whole team would share what they’re working on, propose ideas, and lend assistance to those who need it. From these meetings, I would learn about the amazing projects everyone was working on which in turn gave me the inspiration to work on my own stories. These simple, daily, 20-minute meetings helped set up my whole day and spark smaller collaborations within the team. Even though we were never all able to meet in-person, it was quite refreshing to have a team effort still present in this internship.
Lastly, my favorite part about Buffalo Rising was the opportunity to interview so many people throughout Buffalo. As a native of Syracuse, my knowledge about the Queen City was fairly surface level and this internship allowed me to truly dig in and immerse myself in this wonderful community. Talking to others, and more importantly, learning from others, gives me such joy and I realized that sharing the stories of others is truly what I want to do in life.
In final reflection, this year, this semester, and this internship, was unconventional in more ways than one, but I would not trade any of the opportunities I have received during this time for the world. There is a life lesson from every opportunity you undertake and Buffalo Rising has given me essential lessons that I will carry with me now, and well into my future career.