Reflections on a Summer Internship

Nora Landis-Shack ’13 is one of hundreds of Haverford students who engaged in summer work and internships this year. Here she recounts the lessons learned during her work with Peace Action, an anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons grassroots organization in New York.

A Haverford student is always learning—whether on the field as a student-athlete, in the lab as a student-scientist or in an office as a student worker. And it’s no different during vacation. This summer almost 200 students undertook internships or student research projects sponsored by one of Haverford’s three Centers (the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the John B. Hurford ’60 Humanities Center and the Marian E. Koshland Integrated Science Center), and countless others took on other kinds of jobs on and off campus. Those students are now preparing to head back to campus full of new ideas that will influence their scholarship.
What follows are the reflections of one such student, Nora Landis-Shack ’13, who learned that sometimes knowing which job isn’t right for you is just as an important as learning which job is.

The author, Nora Landis-Shack '13.

When I arrived for my first day of my media outreach internship at Peace Action, an anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons grassroots organization based in Manhattan, I figured I knew what I should expect from the position.  I was confident and experienced with navigating social media websites and human rights blogs, and found this proposed aspect of my internship particularly enticing when I applied.  So I was surprised to discover that social media outreach was much more difficult than I had anticipated.
It turns out that connections are everything in public relations, and that having the right connections can drastically improve your outreach. But as an intern with an organization that was relatively new to the social media world, I had to create those connections from scratch.  While I was discouraged by the lack of interest I found in many of the media contacts I collected, I was very pleased to see that my efforts to recruit more Facebook and Twitter followers were successful.  Peace Action’s online following increased by approximately 30 percent, a huge boon to an organization that relies on the support of locals.
The internship at Peace Action taught me a lot about career path and myself in general.  Although I had some guidance from my supervisor, she was in many ways as new to my field as I was, which left me handling a lot of responsibility.  I also learned that while I loved the work I did, I do not think this career path is for me. As a liberal arts college student, I find it can get easy to be overwhelmed by all the possible career paths to follow, and it’s comforting to be able to check one off of my list.  I had a wonderful experience, but I’m ready to move forward and explore other opportunities.
–Nora Landis-Shack ’13
Interested in learning more about how our students spent their summers? You can read articles about summer internships and research, as well as blogs written by the students themselves, here.