THE BLOG

Four Lessons From Interning at a Charity

21/07/2015 16:06 BST | Updated 17/07/2016 10:59 BST

As part of the University of Sussex's First Generation Scholars Scheme, I've had the opportunity to intern at a leading South-East Music charity. I've been working at Rhythmix, one of the UK's best known charities that provides music making opportunities to young people in challenging circumstances, for the past five weeks. With just five more weeks to go, I wanted to share what I've learned from interning

1. Being adaptable is key

In my first weeks here, I've helped nail a plaque to a wall, organise a training event for staff, tried to persuade a group of American teenagers to stop using our name and designed posters for official marketing uses. None of this was in my job description, and that makes it all the more useful for career progression. I care about the organisation I intern for, and being able to switch between jobs and tasks easily and feeling responsible for all parts of work, not just my original remit, is one of the most important things I've learnt. By working outside of what I originally signed up, I've learnt more about the charity sector and what keeps a charity running and that is bound to help me out once I graduate.

2. Your perspective matters

Some of colleagues have worked for Rhythmix since it was established. When you've been involved with something for so long, new ideas and perspectives can be welcomed. As a new person, being confident enough to say what you think can really help an organisation evolve. If you're working at an organisation that is innovative and creatively approaches problems, new inputs can be valued.

3. But respect the experience of those around you

Whilst new ideas have their place and can push organisations forward, those years of experience have taught more lessons than just five weeks and two years of university can. If an idea I put forward gets rejected, by learning why and the reasons behind a decision gives I get a chance to suck in all the knowledge from people who have been at it far longer than me. Using others' experience is the best way to learn about your role and other roles.

4. Do what you enjoy and you'll never work

As a social media intern, I spend my days interning promoting the brilliant work Rhythmix does, researching social media trends and analysing the statistics around our online efforts. I love the internet, statistics and news - nothing to do with charity necessarily - and I've found a way to turn my interests into something beneficial for Rhythmix. If you know what your interests are and what tasks you enjoy, even things like writing or reading or talking, there is always a way to use those skills for the benefit of others. And if you do, it's highly unlikely you'll dread Mondays.