When your unpaid internship pays off

I spent most of this weekend stressing about this ecology project. And by most, I mean all. I knew I should first choose a social issue that I cared so much about, but also one that I would have abundant resources to at my disposal. First, I really wanted to focus my project on domestic violence. It’s an issue that I am passionate about, but it lacks one of the aspects that Fuller defines about media ecology: “a kind of environmentalism that uses a study of media to sustain a relatively stable notion of human culture” (Fuller 3, 4). And that is, the media part. It’s tragic and sad, but domestic violence feeds off of silence and fear. Although it depends on the individual, not everyone wants their story to be told (especially to the whole world via the magnificent Internet), and I want to respect their privacy. So as much as I wanted to focus on this issue, I had to move on to my next topic. I was struggling to find another topic I was passionate about, when I got on the phone with my mom and she said something about my summer internship. Then, BAM!! The biggest, brightest lightbulb went off in my head! Where did I just intern for the past 8 weeks without pay just filing papers and filing papers (that’s not a typo)? Lo and behold, the biggest nonprofit public health institution in NYC that focuses on the improving the health of people and communities throughout NYC. They literally raise awareness and provide help and education for individuals, families, and communities in every aspect from nutrition, reproductive health, maternal & infant healthcare, HIV/AIDS/STD prevention and care, and so much more. I just had to pick and choose which issues mattered the most to me. When filing papers actually pays off LOL!! (If, by any chance, anyone from PHS is reading this, I still had the best time interning there!)

I decided to focus on one of PHS (the company)’s main missions and that is to help spread HIV/AIDS/STD awareness, prevention, and care. It goes without saying why it is such an important issue, and I am quite excited about my project and spreading awareness through my own media channel.

'Please put that confusing mess of documents, files and folders where it belongs...in your computer.'

Exactly what I’m planning to do

On a whole another note, the reading of Teresa Brennan couldn’t have come at a more timely manner (I also can’t help, but point out her last name. Bones, anyone? Such a big fan). After I read the introduction of Brennan’s The Transmission of Affect article, I knew exactly what she meant by “walking into a room and ‘feeling the atmosphere.’” This past weekend, I traveled back home to California to surprise my mom. I didn’t tell her I had bought a plane ticket and just flew down (or across, I guess) because she was having a hard time after her really good friend passed away due to breast cancer. Her friend, Gloria, had two kids, Adrianna and Ryan. Adrianna is my age and was also one of my very close friends in elementary and middle school, while her brother Ryan is my brother’s age (just 16 years old) and they were also best friends. The funeral was last week, and she was describing it to me in detail.

My mom arrived a little bit early to the viewing, and as she entered the church doors, the atmosphere inside was very somber. Ryan stepped out and saw my mom and gave her a weak smile. My mom gave Ryan a hug, and right away, he started to cry in my mom’s embrace. The two of them broke down in silent tears, just holding each other. There was nothing to be said at that moment, no words to express any emotions. I thought about my mom describing this moment as I read this article—the affect my mom had on Ryan and vice versa. Brennan writes, “The transmission of affect, whether it is grief, anxiety, or anger, is social or psychological in origin. But the transmission is also responsible for bodily changes” (Brennan 1). The “force” of my mother’s presence, the motherly embrace, and the grave “atmosphere” got into Ryan and overwhelmed him with so many emotions that he broke down in tears under the weight of it all. In the same way, his presence overwhelmed my mother and broke her down in tears as well. RIP Gloria.


~ by jc6294nyuedu on September 19, 2016.

2 Responses to “When your unpaid internship pays off”

  1. I think this post is the best in style. The author speaks in a manor that is completely inside their head, and relating the Transmission of Affect to something personal is something that makes the reader understand what is meant by the passage. In addition, I think it’s great that they relate the work they did to what their planned project is. Using HIV/AIDS/STD awareness as an ecology may prove a bit difficult, but with the proper research I think it’d be interesting and I’m excited to see the outcome! Overall, the style is great and it feels as though I’m speaking to them one on one. Plus, the picture was a great addition.

    – Dani

  2. I really like the engagement in this post because you take us through your thought process in a genuine, unfiltered manner. For that reason, it is really easy to relate to, and may even help some people think through their topic choosing. Your title was also really cute and relatable and that’s was originally got me interested in the post. (1) – Lydia

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