Isabella “Izzy” Lopez joined WriteBoston as an intern for our Summer Journalism Institute (SJI). With the summer completed and Izzy back off to her senior year at the University of Pennsylvania, she takes a moment to reflect on her internship experience.

I came to WriteBoston because I was looking for an arts-based internship that focused on engaging minority communities in the arts. I found WriteBoston through a simple Google search and I sent out a cover letter. A few e-mails and phone calls later I landed the position, but I was largely unclear about what I would actually be “doing.”

Upon meeting Carla and Alyssa, I knew I was in good hands. They were energetic and friendly, and I felt a general sense of, “This should work out.” On the first day, I sent an email to every BPS principal as a part of our TiP distribution effort. Half the e-mails had a typo in the subject line and I was sweaty and nervous the whole time. Yet, when I went home that night, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Wow, I didn’t realize you could like your job. I think I’m excited to go back tomorrow.”

Izzy leads a daily “golden tweet” review of the TiPsters’ best tweets.

To say I “liked” WriteBoston is an understatement. It was an creative, collaborative space in which I felt that my ideas were valued every day. I loved contributing to on-going projects, preparing for SJI, and having an immersive learning experience on how a non-profit functions. Of course, I loved SJI. The six weeks were far more demanding than I anticipated, and I don’t remember resting for a single second on the first day (or maybe the first week). There is so much to say about what I learned, how I was surprised, what challenged me, and how I’ve grown. For the sake of time, here is a short list of takeaways:

  • Teenagers are far more perceptive than the world gives them credit for. Our SJI students were sharp and brilliant in unique ways and, most days, I felt they were far more informed than me.
  • Compassion and education are linked. Growing up, I was taught that education required strict discipline and “no exceptions.” I have learned from experience and from Jessie that most engagement and education is rooted in an understanding of students and a focus on personal growth.
  • Everyone has a story. All we need to do is listen.
  • A well-organized spreadsheet is your friend. Thanks for that one, Anne.
  • Work is so much better with community cookies. WriteBoston taught me not only how to care for students, but how to care for coworkers and staff. With the work we do, we need to take care of each other and WriteBoston is a shining example.
  • Do the hard work. This is something I really needed to learn in a visceral way. Non-profit work is neither easy nor simple. I felt frustration, anger, and fatigue along with all the glittery “wow we’re saving the world feelings.” But, this work is important. I feel so grateful to have been a part of it all.

Thank you, Izzy—your care, humor, and dedication have greatly impacted SJI for the better!