Like any NGO worth our salt, we provide a lot of opportunities for people to gain valuable work experience and insights into the real work of an NGO through our brilliant internship program. In fact, working with a constant stream of passionate, talented young people driven by strong humanitarian ideals is a constant source of inspiration and energy for our staff. In the process of selecting interns, we get to meet some rather interesting individuals.
So, without further ado, we share with you (with consent, of course), one of the best responses to an internship application question that we have seen yet.
Describe yourself (strengths, weaknesses, interests, hobbies, goals, etc.)
I want to be part of the solution. I am self-aware of the naïveté of this statement. I love conversations, but I’m terrible at small talk. I’m introverted. “Do you get energy from others?” Yes. In college, I learned to embrace paradox. In life, I’ve tried to figure out what that means. Maybe “paradox” is a misnomer; simply a way to acknowledge that people and the world are too complicated for binary categories.
I keep a notepad in my back pocket at all times in which I collect my thoughts: “I’d like to think that I’m smart enough to not diagnose myself with illnesses on webmd.” “Does foresight have a vision rating too?” What I’ve learned through doing this is that people find the habit of recording observations in a notepad to be adorable.
Having lived in Korea for almost a year now, the thing that I miss most about America is dogs. One of my greatest fears is a life of vocational amateurism – schizophrenically jumping around from one opportunity to the next without ever developing a sustainable legacy. Maybe I just described “the twenty-first century career.” Maybe I would love such a career. Maybe I already am.
I subscribe to comic book philosophy: “I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride” (Spiderman 2) and “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” (The Dark Knight). I’ve never read a comic book. I know I’m a villain to someone. I know I’m a hero to someone else.
Money doesn’t motivate me. Or, hasn’t, yet. That’s probably a lie. I find intense motivation in unexpected places. I spent my high school years as a serious student of the guitar, motivated by the dream of late nights in smoky New York bars as a jazz cat playing Willow Weep for Me for the umpteenth time. I just used the phrase “jazz cat.” I laugh at ninety percent of the things I used to take seriously. Someday I hope that changes.
I often wonder how to maintain a balance between personal happiness and fulfilling my goals of working to alleviate the world’s horrifying undertow. “How much of your personal happiness are you willing to sacrifice in the name of social justice?” Yes.
When our generation first learned “practice makes perfect,” we did not learn exactly 10,000 hours of practice makes masters (Malcolm Gladwell). If humans are the masters of all things, there must be a lot of people who’ve practiced things for 10,000 hours. I hope I have time to practice something 10,000 hours. I hope that whatever thing I master also becomes my career and that my career will make myself and others happy. If I can accomplish that, am I part of the solution?
AMIEE KIM | HR & Recruitment