By Rosalyn Scriven
After four years of internships, I was pretty sure nothing could change. Four years of running coffee to my supervisors in the morning, carrying huge boxes across downtown and getting lost. Four years of organizing what felt like every file to ever exist, restocking inventory, and of course updating every database possible. After four years, internships for me were defined as busy work and heavy lifting that would hopefully one day land you a job, a reference, and in retrospect, a good experience.
I first started interning in the downtown Durham area, during my senior year of high school with my pre-determined major of Public Relations for college. As I approached my senior year of college, I was happy to say that my interning days were soon over. The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce was my final internship! I was ready for everything, the heavy boxes, the coffee and lunch runs, the boring staff meetings, and the endless hours of waiting around for something else to do.
Much to my surprise, I was not treated as “the intern,” but something like a normal, working adult. I felt appreciated and excited to learn new and exciting things. The Chamber gave me a warm welcome that I couldn’t help but respond positively to.
I soon found out this is not the typical office, with constant sarcasm and laughter, a neon orange creative room, and a view of Durham that is indescribable. I am learning new things for my future job endeavors of event planning and public relations and about my beloved hometown – Durham. I have been able to attend networking events held by the Chamber, the 100 Black Men Gala, and I have several other opportunities for the future. My opinion is appreciated and counted as equal, not just the “intern’s opinion”. Most importantly, I have met some of the coolest people I have ever worked with.
So, I am proud to say without one box lifted, one lunch delivered, and so far, no one has called me “the intern”, just Rachel (not my name, long story). My internship at the Durham Chamber is working out much better than I ever dreamed.