Wow, I cannot believe the semester is already over this week. This is the last week I’ll be contributing both in this role and my other role with the organization and it honestly feels really strange. But, of course, I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.
This position has allowed for me to expand my reach into a national online brand and really have some great takeaways. Despite the challenges I had, I feel as though any experience, as long as you make the best of it, is valuable.
It’s been difficult for me to verbalize exactly what I’ve done or what I’ve learned throughout the semester only because much of the work was routine, normally working on similar tasks week-to-week. Usually, on Sunday or Monday, I would collect the information from the week before from each chapter, including articles uploaded, social media content posted, reviewing their weekly recap and organizing their points.
Then, on Wednesday or Thursday, I would send feedback emails and work through suggestions and strategies if a particular team encountered an issue or concern that week. That was the process most weeks, with the occasional phone call mixed in their if a particular team member had something they wanted to discuss a little more in-depth.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to take the skills I learned to wherever my future leads me.
If anything, I sometimes feel as though I lack a certain amount of support partly because it’s done through remote work, which makes certain tasks a bit difficult. I have teams that are unresponsive, making it difficult to help them. Thankfully, the majority of the teams I lead are interested in setting goals for themselves and doing whatever it takes to reach them. Sometimes, however, I won’t know how to answer a question and, at times, it’s been difficult to get an answer from someone else.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, one of my teams missed their weekly requirement on something and were worried that that would derail their goal for the semester. After developing a content plan for them to work through the end of the semester, giving them an approximate amount of points they would need each week in order to achieve it, as well as offering up strategies, their minds were put more at ease. They’re back on track for achieving their goal because they were able to stay in close contact with me and I was able to offer up effective strategies for them, aiding them through their slight period of confusion.
But for a team that doesn’t respond, there’s hardly any way you can help, especially because it’s remote. Thankfully, there are people from the National team to help in these instances but only so much can be done from your side to help if the other side isn’t willing to help themselves. So often, emails of mine will go unresponded to; but I think that speaks to the type of environment I want to work in: one that supports one another through open communication and mutually developing strategies to better each other’s performance.
Unfortunately, semester-wise, it ends up hurting that team if they don’t respond, but again, I think it really comes down to whether they want to help themselves and leaders in this position need to be able to distinguish the line between not being helpful on your end and realizing you truly might not be able to help in the ways you wish you could. That only makes me want to be a better team member too so that not only are team members hopefully learning something from me, but I’m learning something from them too.
A huge positive within this internship is the support all the other network interns are able to provide to each other. While I do sometimes feel a little lost, it’s always nice knowing there’s other women from other colleges and teams that might be in the same boat and be able to offer helpful feedback. Between the leaders of the teams I oversee to conversations in our Facebook support group, there was just a nice feeling of camaraderie in this internship, which I think is a big perk.
When you have such a large network of people, it can become easy to get lost in the shuffle. By breaking up work into small learning experiences, you’re better able to serve a team and help both them and you reach your goals. You can really learn from one another.
A team example
This week, I decided to write about one of the specific teams I oversee. This team just launched this semester so anything and everything I assisted them with was from the ground up. The leader of the team would very often apologize for asking “too many questions” or not knowing how to solve a particular issue. Thankfully, that’s why the position I’m in exists.
In my weekly check-ins with her, I would offer solutions if she pointed out a team issue, such as gaining followers on social media but not receiving much engagement. For this, I suggested to make sure a lot of what was shared from their official page, she also shared because that gets the word out and if the people in the organization aren’t sharing their articles, why would anyone else? You need to first get the articles in front of your audience, then worry about engagement.
Going forward week to week, it was very common she would have a question, like how to deal with difficulties within the department to dealing with on-campus issues, like whether to become an official campus club or not. Of course, that’s another difficult aspect because it’s hard to say whether a team should become a club if you don’t know much about the school and their environment so one of the best pieces of advice you can really offer is to do what they feel is best for their organization, while reminding them if they need additional support, to let me know.
Eventually by the end of the semester, by taking an independent leadership approach myself, she became more independent. Rather than having questions every week, she would update me on team progress and how a certain article came to be, but always knowing that she could come to me with whatever problems she was having.
Learn how to effectively oversee teams remotely, learning to manage multiple databases to ensure accurate recordkeeping on behalf of the various chapters (can’t screenshot for confidentiality reasons), learning how to help chapters effectively grow and build their presence on campus by offering advice and help and learn how to make measurable suggestions and goals to chapters I oversee.
I’m looking forward to see how I can accomplish each of these objectives I set for myself. The teams I’m leading range from small-town school like Cabrini to large-scale universities so I’m sure each of the team’s questions and concerns will vary.
Two internships in one semester: that’s second semester senior year for you! I’m so excited to be working with a national online community and could not be prouder to be taking on another position within the organization, but, this time, getting to lead others and help them grow.
Most of this position centers around gaining experience leading teams through remote work and helping them set goals for themselves, finding ways to help them achieve those goals.