I’m now at the stage of drafting my business plan. In other words, I’m actually putting all my work into words (while attempting to maintain some level of brevity). This project has developed throughout the course of my internship, and I have had many opportunities to make changes and adjustments as I saw fit. In drafting, I am trying to find a balance between showcasing the information I have researched, while also taking the appropriate amount of time for the recommendations and funding options for the project.
I was able to speak to MPA students, county commissioners, and county managers regarding this project. What often surprised me was that, generally, all three groups have similar aspirations- finding meaningful work and having the opportunity to contribute and learn from experiences. Yet, I often feel as though, from the perspective of students, we are hesitant to ask for more work or to put ourselves out “there” (wherever “there” is). Personally, I can say that there is sometimes a fear of speaking up or bothering our supervisors. Yet, time after time, I am being told that people want to hear this from employees and interns. So my obvious (yet important) piece of advice- stop hesitating to ask for work! Worst case scenario is that we’re told no, but at least we’ve then done our part through asking.
As for the fellowship, I am excited to see where this project will go in the future. I often find myself in a bubble in the RDU area, specifically at UNC, but there is a wealth of talent in the MPA programs across the state, and opportunities like these can help connect us to the other students across North Carolina. My hope is that this fellowship will help build bridges across programs. As much as I love that our MPA program at UNC is so close, I think we should try to reach out to students at other programs as well. Each program provides a unique experience, and it’s worth our time to try and learn from the experiences of others.
As hard as it is to believe sometimes, there is a world beyond Chapel Hill. We should try to explore it more often.