Notes from an Internship: Part VII

Last night, the Town’s booth at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns annual conference featured small bags of wheat as a giveaway item.  A thousand of them.  That’s 375 pounds of grain.  Add to that 240 cans of Coke, 10 growlers of beer, 160 bags of pasta, and assorted other prizes; put it all together and the sum is a very sore back, but the math doesn’t end there.

The final product of this booth included inputs from all kinds of sources.  Our Tech Services team developed an app to engage visitors to our booth, and our graphic designer created an eye-catching backdrop to attract those visitors.  Community partners graciously provided all sorts of different giveaways, from wheat, to flowers, to cookies.  The heavy lifting required yesterday would have been impossible without their support.

In many ways, this booth has come to symbolize everything about this internship: sometimes grueling, sometimes comical, sometimes overwhelming, but always a team effort.  Yesterday morning, I distinctly remember looking with dread at our storage area that held all the booth supplies.  Before the anxiety had barely taken hold, though, reinforcements arrived to help load the endless boxes into the Town minivan.  And whether I’m loading a van, designing an HR website, or creating a map of school boundaries, those reinforcements are always ready.

Today marks a bittersweet end to my internship.  Looking back, I’m proud of all the projects I’ve undertaken, and feel empowered to take on similar responsibilities in the future.  At the same time, though, I know now that my expectations have changed, that my primary responsibility has shifted from learning to doing.  I’m excited for the challenge, even if (and maybe because) it’s a bit daunting.  When I first started at Marana, I wrote about the message I used to tell my students: knowledge equals independence.  It turns out that the message still applies.  What I’ve learned here has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to act independently (but not too independently!) in my career.  It’s taught me how to balance creativity with structure, public opinion with professional judgment, and deliberation with timeliness.  I’m sure that more learning lies ahead, but that learning now rests on a solid foundation.  Thanks for reading.