Sometimes being in college, you let your classes take over your life. You allow the success of the class to tell you who you are. You feel like you are going no where in life because you got a low grade on an exam despite your endless hours of studying and preparing. You let one capital letter define who you are.
“You learn more here than you ever will, sitting in a classroom or preparing for an exam.”
It’s true. My month spent at the Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA) has taught me so much about the real world than any textbook could teach. Professors agree with this, parents agree with this, and now, I fully agree with this statement. After a JA employee said the above quote the morning of my last day, it hit me–I would carry all the skills and lessons I learned at JA with me to every future internship, leadership opportunity, class, and job.
Junior Achievement of Delaware reaches over 18,000 students in Delaware, Cecil County MD, and Salem County NJ, representing over 300,000 instructional contact hours. Over 1200 local volunteers from communities, corporations, and universities assist JA programs. Over 9000 students have become “adults for a day,” at JA of Delaware’s experiential learning laboratory in the last year participating in educational experiences such as: a fully interactive simulated economy, JA BizTown® where elementary school students learn entrepreneurial skills while they actually run businesses, manage their money, become philanthropists and pay their taxes; and in JA Finance Park®, middle and high school students become heads of households making personal financial decisions in a realistic onsite virtual community setting. It is a unique and highly recognized non-profit organization.
I wrote my first press release, contacted media outlets, updated media lists, and worked on special event planning and promotion. All the tasks PR professionals and professors said we would encounter. Besides adding these skills and accomplishments to my resume, I feel confident and eager to embark on my next internship and future endeavors.
“Huddle time!” was shouted everyday at approximately 11 am. It was time for all JA employees to gather in the president’s office to discuss the previous day’s accomplishments. You heard clapping and yelling as students worked together in JA Biztown and JA Finance Park, running a stimulated town and pretending to be an adult with a real life job. The sounds of the phones ringing, potential donors walking around the facility on tours, and conversations between employees were everyday occurrences. Experiencing the students as they calculated rent, mortgages, bills, taxes, and even shopping expenses truly displayed the impact of Junior Achievement of Delaware. The mission statement is demonstrated everyday, to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.
One cannot fully express in a resume, blog post, or any written sample of how much I learned just within a month. I am confident in that internships are beyond valuable and they are knowledge you cannot find in the classroom.