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The final week of the internship is here, and the final week of summer as well. Classes start next week, and too soon I’ll be trying to read way too much and casting back to fond times of untangling the organization and how empowering the most vulnerable of our society is one of the most delicate government services.

I am a big devotee to narratives in life. The past couple of weeks have been hard for story-lover in me, because I’m not sure what the conclusion of this internship-chapter is. I have no grand presentation, no unifying theory, no summary project that is the culmination of all my work from the summer. I have another rinky-dink strategic plan to deliver with another set of recommendations. Even now, I’m still learning about my organization, stumbling on hidden processes and stacks of records with a few last minute, “what else is causing you problems,” kinds of questions. I feel all I have to show in this last week is more knots that I’ve discovered.

My supervisor, Alicia, though is confident this last strategic plan will be exactly what my narrative-dependent heart desires. She’s reaffirmed me by saying, almost perfectly aping a locker-room speech, “I think you’ll find that all of your work this summer will inform this final project.” All I’ve worked to up til now, will be proven by what I do this week. Put me in coach! I’m ready!

It’s been a summer of flow charts, deciphering HUD regulations, rewording questions three times to find out exactly what all the responsibilities are of my coworkers. And it’s all come down to this last report. How can the rental assistance team work more efficiently? I’m thinking about three bullet points:
Clearly divide your roles by focus area
Scan client files into the network

That’s all? Three bullet points, that are essentially: talk, listen, stay in your lane, and use technology? I told you at the beginning of this summer I was going to try and be more concise. I wrote an eight page meeting plan about three weeks ago, that was literally only useful for its timeline and division of responsibilities. TWO POINTS out of the whole eight pages. But that experience captures so much of life, where plans get dismantled by reality.

Life is that balance between thought and action, theory and practice, idealism and practicality. Why write eight pages when my real message is contained in those three bullet points? Why water down my recommendations with the ideal solutions of infinite resources, and instead present what is achievable, what’s actionable with what we have right now?

This internship has been invaluable to me, by demanding self-discipline in time management, word management, and action after thought. I don’t think it’s made me any less introspective, but it’s required me to be confident in my products, in my strategies, without knowing every detail, every right answer. Again, I’m still learning about my organization in this last week of the internship, but at the end of the week I’ll have to present my recommendations without being omniscient, without having all the solutions. Whatever I present it’ll be the end of this chapter, and I’ll let you know how it concludes.

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