Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone: Washington Center Internship

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2017

Washington, D.C. isn’t just a place for political science majors. Brianna Jones ’17, a psychology major at Thomas College, spent last summer in D.C. as part of the Washington Center.

Through the Center, Jones spent most of her time interning for a case manager in a resettlement organization for refugees.

Jones set up and brought immigrants to appointments to get their food stamps, medical insurance, and social security cards. She even picked up a couple of families from the airport when they first arrived in the United States late at night – something interns don’t normally do.

Jones, from a small town in New Hampshire called Center Barnstead, decided to study in D.C. because she wanted to get out of her comfort zone.

“I really didn’t want to get out of my shell. I could have just stayed here and been happy. But, I think getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things is important – for instance trying an internship or a new activity. I definitely grew a lot from this experience,” she said.

Jones said D.C. life was an adjustment, but after a while, she got the hang of it.

“Where I am from, there is no public transportation and you know almost everyone,” she said. “But there is definitely a lot happening in a big city instead of small town that you can do.

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Besides working at her internship four days a week, Jones also took a night class, participated in professional track and a leader session once a week.

“The night class I took focused on non-profit leadership and management. It was interesting to learn how organizations run, especially since the one I was working for was a non-profit so it helped me relate to my internship.”

Students were arranged into professional tracks depending on their major; Jones was placed in advocacy and services.

“We did many site visits to various organizations to explore career and job options,” said Jones.

The leader session were lessons on networking in the workplace.

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Jones chose to attend Thomas College because of its small size. She loves the feeling of connection on campus.

Thomas has also been a place for her to practice her love for working with the community.

“As part of Service Society, I’ve been able to do a lot of community service which is a big thing I like to do,” she said. “For example, at the Waterville Homeless Shelter we held a Halloween and Easter party for the little kids that live there. They had their own room that they gave us to use. We had games set up and things that the kids wouldn’t normally have the chance to experience.”

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Overall, Jones is thankful for the opportunity to try something new and adventure out of her comfort zone. She is especially glad she completed her internship, because it gave her insight into a future career.

“I like the aspect of case management – I’m not sure what specific population yet, but I loved my internship and hope I can get a job in social services or case management after graduation,” she said.

Jones said she likes case management and social services because she loves working with people.

“When I first came to Thomas, I was undecided on a major. I took a psychology class and ended up really liking it,” said Jones. “Before the internship, I had never worked in social services before. This was my first time. I ended up really liking meeting new people and helping them out. They were really grateful of what you did,” she said. “It just made me feel like this is what I am made to do.”

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