My Internship Experience – A blog post by Colin Fedor
My name is Colin Fedor, and I am an English Major at Stevenson University and Volunteer Intern with the Maryland Nonprofit Standards for Excellence Institute in the Spring of 2020. My experience as an intern with the Maryland Nonprofit has been anything but normal, but it has provided me a greater amount experience than I could have hoped for. I started working with Maryland Nonprofit in mid-January of 2020 and I couldn’t have asked for a better start. To begin with, I was provided with projects and tasks that I have loved since my high school days- research and writing. I will admit, I was somewhat surprised by the independence I was offered in pursuit of these projects. From what I had heard from my fellows within my major, as well as the popular idea of an intern (as the coffee and paper gopher), I went into my internship with the idea that I would have a ton of oversight. With the support and guidance of my supervisor I was offered the freedom, and the responsibility, to pursue projects by my own means. Additionally, the experience I was able to have working in an office setting was extremely valuable to me as prior to this, I worked in retail and fast food. Working in the office was also highly beneficial as I was hyper focused on tasks and could compartmentalize my mind due to the setting. The office gave me the chance to a refine a mindset I had before into something that was able to turn around projects’ week after week.
However, come late February and going into early March, we start getting news about the spread of COVID-19 abroad and some of my projects begin to change. Where before I was focused on projects centered on the Standards for Excellence’s accreditation process, I was now focused on updating and researching some of our material on health emergencies. Again, it was interesting experience, to see how quickly we as an organization could add a new focus while maintaining our previous projects, but it was definitely concerning. I won’t lie, I was worried that I was going to be furloughed or laid off as result of COVID-19, although those fears were unfounded. Come mid/late-March and I’m now working at home, and having to adapt to not having an office. Suddenly (not to suddenly, I was well informed about the shift but it still felt sudden), I was provided with arguably the best experience I could hope for from an internship. I never expected to have to work remotely, so having to adapt and work from home due to the quarantine/shelter-in-place order was surprising..I had to reframe my mentality around working time for my internship and for my coursework, and that took a great deal of time. But, as I have adapted and gotten into a groove, I find remote work has its own qualities that I enjoy. For example, I find it easier to work on my personal computer than the computer I used at the office for my internship – I am able to work more efficiently with technology that is more familiar to me, and this makes it easier to learn new things. All in all, this has been a marvelous experience. I have had benefit of working from an office, and getting to know office culture, while also getting to experience a fully remote work environment. While I wish that less dire circumstance had brought about this opportunity, I am still immensely grateful for this opportunity and I have enjoyed every moment of my time with the Maryland Nonprofits.