When Will My Reflection Show Who I Am Inside?

Well, I’m glad I was able to come up with a clever title for my last blog post. I gave myself extra time to reflect properly and, I’ll be honest, the title is the most creative thing I’ve come up with. I think I’ve been waiting to be struck with a muse that would have me waxing poetic about everything I learned but I’m at a loss for words. If you’ve read my other posts then you know this isn’t like me. I have so many feelings about this internship that everything I’m feeling is overwhelming my ability to form coherent thoughts, so I apologize if this post is disorganized but that’s the most honest reflection of my mental state right now.

I think the most central feeling I have is that of gratitude. I’m grateful that I was given this opportunity. I’m grateful that people let me into their homes to see a glimpse of their lives. I’m grateful for the coworkers that took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to sit me down and explain the details and nuances of their jobs. I am extremely grateful to the director who had lunch with me and provided me with insight that has brought life back to my graduate plans and career path. I’m grateful to my supervisors who took this internship on with me and the additional work of making ┬ásure I could see all that was available at the agency. I’m grateful for the administrative assistants who educated me on the ins and outs of the front lines. I’m grateful to everyone who spoke to me in the break room and made me feel welcome.

I was at DSS for nine weeks and I met a lot of people in that time. I saw a lot of sad circumstances, people who were hurting, people who were angry, and people who needed a lot of help. But I also saw people dedicated to making people’s lives better, I saw families reunited, I saw foster kids out having fun, I saw a man overjoyed by working with a church group to have a suitable ramp put on his house. I’ve learned that when people tell you this job is hard, they really mean it but that those who stay are the ones who know just how worth it the work can be.

I’ve seen the desk work and car repairs and jammed copiers it takes to get things done. I’ve seen the serious, real impact that is made by someone reaching out and saying “I am working for your benefit. I care about your well-being. I want life to be better for you.” I’ve seen people take this work for granted and I’ve seen people make fraudulent claims and, as irritating as that can be, it takes nothing away from all of the good that I’ve seen.

Two of the most important things I’ve learned in the last few weeks in foster care are 1) there are no bad people, just bad choices/circumstances and 2) the little details often have the largest impact. You never know who you may be interacting with, you may know their full story or you may not, but you have full control of treating that person with dignity and respect. Adult, child, mentally ill, physically disabled, addict, whoever, you have to work with them and bring them to the best place possible for themselves and their families. A little respect can go a long way in making progress easier for everyone.

I have seen living understandings of intersectionality working to benefit real people and I know that what I have been studying has value outside of a classroom. I have seen theories I have only studied being used by working adults. I have seen what it is to work in my field and just how many options I have.

This internship has been enlightening for me and I am grateful and honored to have worked at DSS. I hope that has been evident and I hope what I have learned will follow me in all I do.

Thanks, Orange DSS.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Suzanne Raitt on 08.18.16 at 9:37 am

Gosh, Sadie, this is an inspiring and moving post. What a great experience you have had. I can’t quite tell – partly because I didn’t know you before – whether you were this awesome before or whether the internship transformed you, but what you have achieved – and perhaps more importantly, learned – is really, really impressive. I can’t wait to hear more in person.

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