June 18, 2022
June 18, 2022
The beginning of my three-month internship at SPA feels as if it was yesterday. Time flies when you’re learning and enjoying the work. Here I am having finished my internship and reflecting on all of the positive and challenging times I had.
Besides the internship at SPA, I am a student pursuing a master’s degree in public and administrative law at the Somali National University. There is no doubt that the three-month internship has been challenging but also rewarding. I took a few steps forward in learning and growing.
In the beginning, it was difficult to balance my first semester of my master’s program and work 40 hours a week while also studying for the Bar exam, which was demanding. It was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Nonetheless, it taught me resilience and focus. I learned how to prioritize my time, be productive and work under overwhelming pressure.
As a result, this blog is a reflection on the experience and everything that I have gone through before I was eventually embraced as a full-time member of the Somali Public Agenda team. One of the major things I have learned in my internship was to value and foster innovation and problem-solving as in-demand skills in today’s working environments. In this regard, I have learned to think creatively and come up with solutions to existing problems while still beating different deadlines. I know this skill will be extremely important throughout my career and professional life as it will help me approach everyday situations and problems with a different mindset. The importance of creative thinking in identifying problems became apparent in my daily routine.
In addition to that, this internship has taught me that research is a field that I would love to pursue. I thought I knew for sure that I wanted to stick with reading law books, but this internship has also exposed me to the world of blogging and academic writing. These are fields I have discovered that I am equally passionate about. In the workplace, I now feel more confident in my writing skills. This will make me a more skilled professional. It has also given me a boost of confidence, knowing that my writing and ideas are valid and fit within an established workplace.
In January, I remember my arrival coincided with a blog writing and personal branding training organized by Somali Public Agenda’s Center for Learning and Development. Upon hearing the news of the training, I registered my interest and requested to be given an opportunity. Little did I know that I was already counted in. The training was interesting. The lessons were great. We attended the class twice a week; every Saturday, lessons were given, and every Thursday, we had the opportunity to meet with a professional blogger. Everything about the course was very helpful, and I was able to publish my first blog post. In a short time, I was able to generate stories and write about them. It was like the giant writer in me was awoken.
However, my main reason for coming to SPA was to learn about research. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy endeavor. At first, I was struggling to learn basic research techniques such as data coding and other techniques. However, my colleagues were eager and willing to help and give me feedback about what I should do. I also got feedback about my writing and working style, and I found the whole process quite rewarding. I was really happy to have improved during the time that I was an intern. I worked on a couple of research projects and also traveled for fieldwork to Jowhar, which was an eye-opener. During these projects, I always felt fully supported by my colleagues who were always willing to guide me.
Reflecting on my learning objectives from the beginning of this internship, I believe that I have accomplished them. Not only has my writing improved and I learned other valuable skills, but I also believe that my ability to read with an editor’s critiquing eye has been enhanced. Compared to the beginning of the internship, now I write much more quickly and in a more concise manner. This skill has improved greatly to the point that I think I am becoming a more professional writer who can express her ideas directly and with more confidence.
Regarding my editing skills, I have learned the difference between reading for pleasure and reading to identify problems. When you are reading to find lapses, holes, and problems within the story, it shifts the way you read and understand. I have learned that if I actively read a story with the hope of making a summary out of it, I have the creativity and eye to find things that I would have previously overlooked. Therefore, I have learned a great deal from my internship.
During my internship, I also worked with all the centers of the Somali Public Agenda. My supervisors would most often share my progress with me and we would come up with solutions together. Since I got the chance to work at all the centers, I learned several things and got a very complete picture of what good management and administration could be like. All through the process, my opinions were listened to and my ideas were considered, thereby giving me responsibilities that have made me the person I am today. My mentors were extremely invested in me; they helped me and supported me every step of the way. Through this work, I was able to develop my skills as a writer and my professionalism.
Finally, I want to conclude by acknowledging the support of my colleagues. Today, I work at SPA as a full-time employee, and this is a result of the efforts that I put in during my internship period. It is not always that you see a student who comes to do an internship getting employed due to their efforts, hard work, and potential. I would like to give special recognition to SPA HR officer Farhia for guiding me and eventually rewarding my efforts. I am also grateful to every SPA staff member for their support and mentorship. You have become like family to me. I can’t wait to keep learning from you.