Being a student at Westfield State University has opened several exceptionally rewarding opportunities for me during my three years here. Even as a transfer student, I instantly became involved because of the wide array of activities on and off campus. Some of the leadership roles I have held include Vice President of Academic Life for the Student Government Association, Chair of the Student Conduct Board, and student representative on the search committee to find the university’s next Vice President for Institutional Advancement. All of which have prepared me to be successful in an internship.
Holding a position on the executive board of the Student Government Association has helped me hone my professional communication skills. Multiple weekly meetings, in front of the assembly as well as behind closed doors, required the respectful exchange of ideas and issue troubleshooting throughout the course of the year. As a board, we addressed concerns ranging from students’ academic success to the racial climate on campus. Issues that naturally led to tough conversations. My time on the executive board lends to success in a professional internship because of the need to communicate effectively in tense situations. I have learned that recruiters for internships in government agencies nonprofit organizations, among others, seek students with such skills.
Each Student Conduct hearing has been a new situation with new students and new way of thinking. As chair of the board, my job is to facilitate fact finding, analyze witness testimony, and determine responsibility of students. While the results of one hearing cannot be transferred to make decisions on another hearing, the basic skills remain constant. At each hearing, we are presented with copious amounts of information, most of which is unnecessary for making a decision. In the world of internships, I believe having the ability to discern the fluff from the facts is an asset. Interns may often complete undesirable tasks for the organization, but those tasks are the foundation of success for others above. Critical thinking makes such efforts more effective in the long run.
As the student representative serving on the committee to find the school’s next vice president, it was essential to place the future of the school ahead of personal preference. The committee envisioned in writing the perfect candidate for the position and then interviewed such individuals. In both stages of the process, the values of my constituency prevailed over mine. This leadership role provided invaluable insight of the importance of working together to shape the future of an organization. As an intern, I will play a similar role for another organization. The skills that I learn through an internship are important, however, the contribution I make to the organization ultimately determine my success.
Westfield State University and the opportunities that come with being a student have undoubtedly influenced my potential success as an intern. Skills such as communication and critical thinking have proved to be instrumental in my success so far and I look forward to applying them in the professional world.
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