Tips & Advice
- 13 August 2013
- by Hasib Muhammad
For the longest time, I used to be a very shy and incredibly awkward child. I loved doing what I was accustomed to doing, playing videos games inside on sunny, beautiful days and sleeping. Eventually, however, I realized that there was more to life, but I did not know what exactly. I did know that I wanted to break out of my shell and try something new for a change, so during my freshman year of high school I decided to take on an internship with a nonprofit organization, Greening Forward.
Honestly, I was not expecting much out of it besides experience and something else to do other than wasting my time doing unproductive things. After days of working, I found that I really enjoyed it! While it may not have been the most exciting work (filling in spreadsheets, creating documents, formatting guides), I realized that what I was doing was making a difference. In addition, the people I met were some of the most intelligent and caring individuals I had the pleasure of ever meeting.
I continued to work through my internship with alacrity. I never knew I was so driven. I put in so much effort as an intern that others took notice, and eventually, I decided to take on more work and became a Greening Forward staff member - Program Director. Again, I worked tirelessly for Greening Forward because I believed in its vision that all young people can become environmental civic leaders and the people who helped that vision come alive. Today, I am Greening Forward's Program Director, and now, my job consists of heavy human interaction, which I love.
Internships are a bumpy, long road, and the best part is that you do not know where it will take you. A lot of my friends have done research projects through internships and have gone very far in science competitions! For me, I have the opportunity to speak across the United States, spreading Greening Forward's message to others. About two years ago, if you told me that I would flying out places like Washington or Massachusetts to talk about global youth engagement and environmentalism, I would not have believed you.
I wake up doing what I love, and I'm a high school student. Greening Forward has added a balance to my life that I was missing. Internships give you experience, sure, but that's not why I love them. In reality, internships have given me an opportunity to reflect and discover who I am as a person - my ideals, my values, and my goals.
My advice to you is to put yourself out there and just apply for an internship, especially if you want to put your time into the right place. There are many internships out there, and you honestly have nothing to lose! If a particular internship wasn't for you, well, there you go! You just learned something more about yourself. On the flip side, if an internship is for you, then you found a passion in a field that you never would have known.
My favorite quote comes from Ray LaHood, the former Secretary of Transportation. He told me during my recent trip to Washington D.C, "All jobs are important. It doesn't matter what you do but how you do it. If you do a good job, people will take notice."