Student's View: Final Blog Post

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Student's View: Final Blog Post

By Tatiana Le, student intern, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Final Photo with InternI am tremendously grateful for the time I’ve spent as an intern here at AASA, The School Superintendents Association. It was my first internship ever, so maybe I’m not in the best position to say this, but I found this experience extremely valuable to my academic and budding professional career.

First off, I learned much more than I expected to learn. I think that every student—at some point or another—subscribes to the fear that early internships are nothing but pits of busywork and coffee-making. While I didn’t take those fears face-value, I did expect more grunt work than I got.

Jay Goldman, editor of School Administrator and one of my supervisors, made sure I got experience reading, writing and editing different parts of AASA’s print and online publications, as well as a few other popular education magazines. I’ve had the chance to proofread features, help select covers and visit all the different departments of AASA.

Gayane Minasyan, director of online technologies and my other supervisor, had me writing this blog, handling social media and learning the web content management system. I sat in on webinars, designed toolkits and graphics, wrote mobile app alerts, conducted interviews and more. I never wore just one hat here at AASA, which I suppose is how most everyone at AASA works. It’s a small community of people juggling an abundance of different tasks.

Second, I can’t claim that the internship did an upheaval of my previous life decisions and goals, but my exposure to so many new people in different positions made me consider my options more. I still want to teach, but I’ve realized that I have to start thinking more than just one step ahead.

There’s no guarantee I’ll want to teach forever, and even otherwise, this adventure has taught me the importance of diversifying your interests and trying new things. My time at college isn’t preparing me for a life-long career at 19, it’s teaching me the tools to eventually find one. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I actually never considered the superintendency as a logical end point to my career path as a teacher but guess that’s what internships are for. I have to get out into the world and see what other people are doing out of college to know what’s possible for me.

I’d like to thank everyone I’ve met at AASA for giving up some of their time to share their insight and advice with me. Some big highlights were my discussions with Kayla Jackson and Rebecca Shaw, project director and coordinator of Children’s Initiatives and Program Development, and Vera Turner, project manager of Leadership Services. That’s not to mention the people who guided me through tasks like Liz Griffin, managing editor of School Administrator, Juli Doshan, senior editorial assistant, and Deanna Atkins, digital content manager. I’ve been to networking events at college before, but it feels so much more organic to have a conversation with someone who works in the same building as you. Many of the college students I know, including myself, are terrified of networking. Networking didn’t feel like a conversation until this internship. I hope that I get more and more comfortable talking to adults as my career continues.

I also hope that my successor and any other intern looking for some reflection space keeps a blog too. I’m truly glad that my supervisor put me up to it. The writing process has given me time to sit down and process why I’m really here interning for the summer rather than working a diner job to pay for textbooks or spending three weeks at the beach. I can confidently say that I made the right choice.