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Intern perspectives: What I Think I Learned

Intern perspectives: What I Think I Learned

As I near the end of my time working with World Sport Chicago and BAM-Sports, I wanted to take a moment of reflection and think about what the past ten weeks have given to me as a professional and a person. Without further ado, here is my Peter King style 10 things I Think I Think about my time as an intern at World Sport Chicago.

  1. I think I am really proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and finding success in my work at WSC. Over the past few weeks I have completed a variety of tasks that I wouldn’t have been able to do just a few months ago. I learned how to code in HTML and updated the WSC website, I developed and implemented a new goal setting process for the BAM-Sports mentors, I led sessions at BAM-Sports team meetings, I created and cultivated content for WSC newsletters, and I helped adjust the chart of accounts for WSC. I learned a lot about website management, strategic communication, accounting, and working at a non-profit organization. I definitely grew as a professional and as a person over the past few weeks and I am looking forward to further cultivating my diverse skillset.
  1. I think I really enjoyed the creative projects I got the opportunity to work on. I completed a few projects where I was given very minimal, open instruction and the trust to use my instincts to complete the task at hand. These tasks allowed me to leave my own imprint on the BAM-Sports program and made my days more interesting and less routine.
  1. I think working everyday is something of a grind. I am a pretty disciplined individual but I still had trouble this quarter balancing my responsibilities at WSC with some other obligations such as other jobs, schoolwork, attending ultimate team practices and competitions, and my making time to spend with my friends. This often meant I needed to sacrifice sleep and leisure time to fit everything into the hours that I had available but it definitely helped that I found my work engaging, interesting, and relevant so getting up each day was not much of a struggle. I can definitely see though, how difficult it is to motivate oneself to be consistent and effective each and every day with so much else going on in everyone’s lives.

    BAM Sports mentors and students at a regional competition

    BAM Sports mentors and students at a regional competition

  1. I think I really like the West Loop neighborhood WSC is headquartered in. Our office is easily accessible by both the Metra and ‘L’ trains and is within walking distance of hundreds of restaurants and shops to explore. I really enjoyed getting to see a new area of the city and I’ll definitely be stopping back at a few of my favorite lunch spots when I’m in the area.
  1. I think it was really cool for me to see all of the areas of Chicago where BAM-Sports operates. I had never explored neighborhoods like Bronzeville or Little Village, and the glimpse I got from observing BAM-Sports in various high schools really opened my eyes to the reality many of our youth and families face today. I wrote before about how different the school environments of BAM schools are compared to the school I grew up attending. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to see such different environments and to be part of a program working to make those spaces easier for students to navigate.
  1. I think the BAM-Sports mentors are doing incredible work. I am constantly impressed by the initiative and drive of the BAM-Sports mentors. Most of them are working another job or taking classes after work yet they still find a way to go above and beyond their responsibilities as mentors. As BAM-Sports mentor Jesse puts it, “a lot of the youth that I work with don’t have enough resources in their life to guide them where they need or want to go. For instance, some of them don’t know the first step of applying to jobs, how to apply to colleges, or what to do when they wrong someone. It motivates me to be a resource who they can come to whenever they need help.”
  1. I think students are really lucky to have BAM-Sports in their schools and may not recognize the value that the program offers. If I could have had a program in my high school that teaches me important life skills and values, and let me play sports without the pressure of trying out for a team or crushing our rival school, I would have had a much better experience.

    Alex scoring a try

    On my way to a try at a BAM-Sports team meeting

  1. I think I am very excited for my future. In the short term, I will embark on a study abroad fellowship in Jerusalem next semester and I am incredibly excited to be able to learn within a new culture and in such a cool place. Thinking longer term, my experience at WSC helped me determine that working for a sports organization would probably be a good fit for me down the road. I wrote earlier about the power I see in sports as a way to connect people of all walks of life and I still believe that playing and watching sports are unique ways to bond with others. I would love a future where I am part of an organization that is able to build those connections and make meaning out of them and my experience at WSC made that realization clearer.
  1. I think these are my non-work related thoughts right now:
    1. Quick plug for ultimate (Frisbee): it is an incredibly fun sport, combining elements of soccer, basketball, and football into one fast paced game. There are professional, club, and youth teams around Chicago so athletes of all levels can enjoy this safe and fun sport.
    2. I love seeing when professional athletes use their fame to take a stand for relevant issues. Pieces like this humanize the athletes than many of us fans idolize and remind us that as powerful as sports are, there is more to life than just a game.
  2. I think I could not thank everyone here enough for the great experience I had. I felt welcomed, valued, and included at WSC from day one and I know that not every intern at every worksite has such a comforting and validating experience. The people at WSC are doing great work for a great reason and I am really happy to say that I have been a part of this team.

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