As a young adult, it is almost guaranteed that you will hear an authority figure talk about how the “real world” works.
This is especially highlighted at the college level as professors prepare you to enter the workforce. As a summer intern, many of these ideas and skills that professors have drilled into our brains, as obsolete as they may have seemed at the time, have appeared once again. Skills such as using digital technology efficiently and having a solid foundation of your intercultural fluency are all ideas that are now being applied throughout my internship.
COVID-19 really put a dent in what I was expecting to be my ideal college experience. All but one of my courses were online, some even asynchronous where I didn’t even know what my professor looked like. Though many times I dwelled upon how my freshman year was ruined, I at least tried to see some kind of silver lining. One silver lining was learning how to function beneficially with professors across multiple platforms. We had our Canvas pages, our school email, and some professors even gave us their phone numbers to text them if we ever needed help. As I continue as an IACET intern, most of my work is computer-based. With having no other choice but to learn to be technologically literate for school, I am much more equipped now than I would have been.
Another opportunity that my college provided me was the campus’s environment. The University of Mary Washington teaches their students to be open, accepting, and respectful individuals regardless of if they have differing viewpoints. Being at a liberal arts college definitely adds to the environment that has been created. However, students have a lot to do with campus life. Students are always involved and we are constantly being told that our voices matter. Living and being immersed in an environment where the acceptance of others is absolutely mandatory is a necessary skill in my internship as I meet and work with many individuals.
Katherine Starchville attends the University of Mary Washington in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Having been granted her letter of intent from the Loudoun County Education Human Resources Department, she plans on returning to Loudoun County, VA to teach. In her spare time, Katherine works at an elite equestrian facility and volunteers at an equine rescue center. She enjoys the outdoors and has been riding horses for almost a decade.