My Summer 2020 Internship Experience

Lydia Begag

Lydia Begag ‘22
Majors: politics and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
Minor: legal studies
Summer 2020 Internship: Jane Doe Inc., Boston, MA 

Hello prospective Summer 2021 WOW fellows! If you are reading things, chances are you’re already thinking about summer internships, fine-tuning your cover letters for different positions and funding opportunities. Just a year ago, I was in a very similar place. The stress of finding an internship for the summer was only growing by the day. From Linkedin internship announcements to drafting various versions of my resume; it became increasingly evident that I could use some support in this process. 

Turning to Hiatt for help was instrumental in two main ways. First, it meant enlisting the help and support of the career team. I made a meeting after meeting with Dr. Jane Pavese, the assistant director of career development at Hiatt. She came to know me and my professional passions very well and was always a great source of encouragement. She pointed me in the right direction to search for internships in fields I was interested in. Most importantly, she assisted me in employing different strategies for creating new connections.

One of these strategies was key to how I landed my internship for the summer.

When an organization you are drawn to doesn’t have an internship program or application process detailed on their website, reach out to them personally via email! Putting yourself out there can feel vulnerable, but it is important to build new connections and maybe even create your own internship opportunity. Taking this advice to heart, I reached out to many organizations in this manner and eventually confirmed an internship with Jane Doe Inc. 

lydia working virtually at internship

The second way in which Hiatt was a key part of my internship journey last year was when the introduction of the World of Work (WOW) Social Justice summer funding. The pandemic turned my dreams of having the quintessential summer internship experience into a reality most people faced last summer: learning to work from home. As a hands-on learner, virtual work was something very new to me. It can definitely be a challenge to adjust to hours at a desk in front of a screen, but both my internship and the WOW fellowship program gave my days of work a sense of structure.

Due to this fellowship, I was able to live in Boston for the summer, where JDI is based, and work remotely in the city. Communicating with my WOW mentor and crafting my blog posts motivated me to stay on top of my work throughout the summer! Within the JDI network, I became accustomed to my role with regular staff meetings, individual check-ins with my supervisors and networking Zoom calls with other interns from neighboring organizations. In a time of great uncertainty and social disconnect, I was able to take advantage of both of these summer programs and stabilize my work routine. 

As important as work is to us, knowing when to detach from it is just as critical. The best piece of advice I could give anyone who will be interning remotely this summer is to schedule in “you” time. As the hour's pass, your work can start to feel tiring and overwhelming. Telling myself to close my email and step away from the laptop when I clocked out for the day, set fundamental boundaries for myself throughout the internship. Prioritize still doing the things you love, even in this era of Zoom. Go for a walk, see family or friends safely, cook -- just do whatever brings you joy!

Learn more about the World of Work (WOW) Summer Funding Program 

Read more about Lydia’s summer experience on the WOW blog