What I will remember most about my internship is that the contributions were a two-way street—applicable for both the short-term and the long-term. Given the nature of the customer service/events industry, my role as assistant manager was both internally and externally-facing. I extended an eagerness and willingness to learn something new each day, while I simultaneously absorbed and benefited from my surroundings. It was a bit like osmosis (in a literary sense?). Thus, I feel as though I was able to bring short-term value to the Events Office in the form of positivity and patience, while I also gained a tremendous amount of transferrable knowledge and skills that will serve me in the long-term—diligence, communication skills, and professionalism (to name a few).
Thinking ahead toward the fall, I feel more equipped to contribute fully to Tri Delta through my position as Social Events chair. The myriad of requests we received from clients throughout this summer afforded me insight into the power of mentally relinquishing control—specifically, control of outcomes. This is not to say that a certain degree of control was not necessary in the logistical preparation for groups’ arrivals on campus. Rather, controlling outcomes, was a recipe for unwanted stress.
Outcomes are arbitrary; therefore, constant control of such would be a self-inflicted headache. I learned this primarily through observing David and Cassie throughout the summer. They were always at the ready to devise alternative options/plans/ideas in the face of uncertainty. What I began to realize was that they were channeling the bigger picture instead of dwelling on what might/could go awry. I appreciated this type of approach, as someone who can sometimes sweat the small stuff. Thanks to this internship, though, I definitely gained more confidence and composure. With these newfound skills, I will be able to approach unpredictable situations with less nervousness, and more haste in problem-solving…especially as post-grad life (the peak of uncertainty) dawns in the distance.
Further, I think that my internal optimistic outlook on life coincided well with the external, aforementioned skills that the Events Office staff/my co-workers demonstrated. To this point, I was able to bring positivity and humor to the work environment. I often found myself wanting to boost morale amongst my co-workers in the face of discouragement/tricky situations/sleep deprivation. In turn, perhaps a bit selfishly, this approach sustained my personal well-being as well. When I find myself down in the dumps, I am not productive, nor am I motivated. So, I made an effort this summer—whenever appropriate—to lift others’ spirits, as well as my own, for the purpose of successful work days and relational maintenance.
Moreover, across all of the LDST classes that I have taken in the past 3 years at UR, a major theme remains consistent: the significance of leaders and followers—and their shared dynamic/relationship. Unfortunately, it is often the case where power-hungry leaders maliciously exert their dominance over their followers. Our student manager this summer, Cassie, was a prototypical counterexample to someone who craves power/dominance. Despite our close proximity in age, we looked up to her. Not once she did claim her managerial power as a means to diminish her subordinates. The same goes for David’s leadership style, too.
Cassie and David never attempted to “dirty their hands”–a phenomenon we learned about in Leadership 101 with Professor Kaufman. To recap, the Dirty Hands Theory invites the idea that most, if not all, politicians (or persons in power) will “tango” with corruption at some point in their leadership tenure. In essence, then, too much power almost always leads to chaos –with varying degrees of extremity. Knowing this theory, I think I was almost expectant to see some form of dominance disintegrate into dysfunction this summer (especially given the hierarchy of roles in the office). But, this was not the case—I think in large part due to the pre-established emphasis on collaboration that the Events Office upholds. In fact, having a bit of Jepson background knowledge has given me a more acute awareness of how smoothly our summer ran (with regards to the leader-follower dynamics, in particular).
All in all, we experienced minimal to no beef between co-workers, or clients, throughout the duration of the internship. If even a sliver of personal beef was detected amongst ourselves throughout the summer, the five of us (Cassie, Katelyn, Liv, Saul, and myself) somehow had a way of preemptively smoothing it out into a thin piece of prosciutto—light, supple, and digestible.