The experience is about what you put into it – not just a grade.

Michael Harvey is an online Human Services Leadership student. Originally from Appleton Wis., he moved around the country after two years of college as a way to help him determine what he wanted to do with his life. Those experiences lead him to want to help those less fortunate, which is why he chose to major in human services leadership.

As I head into my final week working as an intern at COTS homeless shelter, I wait for my grand finale.  Over the course of a semester I have embarked on a journey that was not entirely expected.  I did what I set out to do, successfully (but not always gracefully) completing my goals and gaining valuable knowledge that will further my future career.  It is hard in a way to see this internship come to an end.  I’ve had a great time, worked with some fantastic people and grown personally as well as professionally.

The last month I’ve been working  independently for the most part, mainly case managing a few clients.  I’ve also been helping set up future contacts for COTS—my latest is to get a guest speaker from the YMCA to come in to give a presentation on healthy living habits.  My last weeks have been tying up loose ends, finalizing projects and looking ahead to what’s next.  One thing I really enjoyed about being an intern is that you can try as much or little as you choose to.  This whole experience is about what you put into it, not just a grade.

Looking back at this endeavor is a testament to just how much effort and work is put in, with the rewards being well worth it.  I have gained confidence in myself and my abilities to accomplish goals and to make a difference in others’ lives.  The common phrase about Human Service workers is that they are agents of change, but we are really the catalyst to change and at COTS I found it to be especially true.  This field is about connecting people to services and finding the root of a problem.  The hard work is done by those whom we are helping, those who are grappling with major issues.  Though we are not always successful and our efforts may go un-thanked, the work that we do (or will do) is essential to those lives we touch.

Going forward, I know what to expect out of the next internship and thereafter.  From this internship I have received a better understanding of the field and my place in it.  It has also given me a good direction as to what I want to do for my next internship and the connections to get it.  Although I am sad to leave COTS, I am excited to start my next chapter.

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