Getting an internship with the Office of Institutional Advancement at Longwood was an experience that I am glad I was able to have. I was incredibly honored to receive this opportunity because I believe it helped me grow as a communication studies student. I not only learned to be more confident with myself and my ideas but I made connections with some of the wonderful staff here at Longwood. With the high praises from my internship supervisor I was able to excel and exceed all expectations, expectations that not only I had set but ones that my coworkers set for me as well.

The biggest challenge that I faced was my confidence. I was afraid to share my thoughts and ideas and I believe that held me back in really getting the full effect of the internship. I found myself in meetings wanting to participate but not knowing what to say. Coworkers asked me for my opinion or for help and I was able to help like I wanted to. It was a hard obstacle that I had to overcome. Even though I kept telling myself I had nothing to be worried about, I couldn’t shake the feeling. By my one month evaluation though I felt more confident and I could feel myself coming out of my shell more. What really helped was when my supervisor said she couldn’t even tell I had confidence issues. It made me realize it was all in my head.

When I first found this internship position, I was most excited with the aspect of meeting and working with the generous donors of Longwood. To meet the people who have made many things here possible, I felt was very special. As I got more into the internship and participated in the events that were being put on for the donors, I realized that it would be awesome to be working in a field of business that directly made people happy. Seeing how pleased the donors were with the work we had done, started to get me more interested in event planning. I was never quite sure what I wanted to do when I changed majors to communication studies but this internship has shown me that I have an interest in event planning.

I believe that I have gained the skills that I mentioned in my first blog article. My lack of confidence when needing to ask a question has mostly diminished to the point where I do feel comfortable when needing help or asking a question. I felt as if I shouldn’t be asking for help because I should be capable to do these things on my own. I have also gained the skill of being more assertive. Like I stated in my 4th journal entry, you need to have a sense of assertiveness when speaking so that you seem more credible to those that you are speaking to. I gained these skills that I desperately needed because I knew they would help me succeed in the workplace. Constant praise and approval from my supervisor gave me the last bit of confidence I needed.

I was able to achieve my goals that I set and I was very proud to do so. My two biggest goals were to finish the Longwood magazine project and then of course I wanted to start writing hand written thank you notes in place of some of the regular post cards that are usually sent to the donors. Thankfully I was able to write out a good amount of hand written letters and I finished scanning in the remaining magazine articles that needed put into the database. My last goal was to become more confident and assertive and I can tell that I was finally able to get out of my head and open up more when it came to making decisions on my own.

I don’t think I could have picked a better group of people to be my coworkers and mentors. From the beginning they were always there to help and guide me if I needed. My supervisor in particular gave me all the direction and reassurance I needed when completing a task. When I first started she made sure I was comfortable with my workspace and those that I was working with. She urged me to set up meetings with everyone else in the office so that I was able to get to know them and what they did. I feel like that is a very important thing for new workers to do so I was glad that she had me do that.

This internship was more than I could have asked for. I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived but within days I was feeling like I had been there so much longer. I just had this conversation with my supervisor, but I would 100% suggest this internship to a student seeking one. Not only is it awesome being able to get closer to the staff at Longwood, but I have been able to learn so much. This internship helps you connect with the school in a much more powerful way. One of the projects I was assigned, I was to read articles about alumni and put them in our database so that when our gift officers go out to meet with them, they have talking points. By doing this, I was able to learn about our wonderful alumni who have generously donated and continue to do so. Another reason I would suggest this internship is because during the first week I was here, I had coworkers telling me about their connections and how they could put in a word for me for when I graduate. You don’t always have coworkers who care enough to help you find a job so I got lucky when this opportunity presented itself. FullSizeRender

This was when I was manning the annual giving booth for our department at freshman orientation. The first day I was with another coworker to get a feel for what I needed to do, but the next 4 days I ran it solo. It was a very proud moment for not just me but the office because they have never had an intern run this booth alone.


This was what I was doing a majority of the time, so I thought it would be a good thing to document! A lot of the time I could be found writing thank you notes to our wonderful donors!

I wasn’t given many opportunities that allowed me to have written samples of work, but I was able to help plan some events and do some small tasks of others.


This is a sample of one of the hand written thank you notes that I was able to start doing towards the end of my time there. Usually post cards are sent with small notes written on them but my supervisor and I decided personal hand written notes would create more of a long-lasting impact.



These are two examples of emails that one of the workers in the office asked me to compose. There were to be sent out to donors that hadn’t given in a while.  These are hoped to be incentive to remind the donors of how much we care and hopefully start donating regularly once again.

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This was the gift bag that I was in charge of making and putting together for an event that was held at a donors house. In the folder was information on the event that was taking place and as a reminder of the night, Longwood post cards and envelopes were given out to each of the guests.

Another sample of work that I unfortunately wasn’t able to see get printed was the Longwood calendar that is going to be sent out to the donors. For this calendar I went through the Longwood picture database and selected a variety of 14 pictures for the cover and different months. This calendar also has the dates and descriptions of events on campus for students, alumni events, events that the Office of Institutional Advancement were putting on, and important dates that pertained to students and alumni.

My last sample of work is a combination of little different tasks. It was for a dinner that was being hosted for the 1839 society, a group of people who have planned gifts for Longwood such as scholarships.  First, I was in charge of putting together and sending out the event invitation. After that, with the help of my supervisor, information was gathered on the event that was to be sent out to each of the guests. I then handled the RSVP list, designed the place cards, and helped with seating when the event day arrived. After, I was in charge of sending out thank you’s to the guests.

Journal #5

Throughout my many communication classes I learned many theories that helped explain communication in more detail. The first theory that I saw present during my internship is the Standpoint theory. The Standpoint theory states that someone’s perspective or opinion can be changed due to their day to day experiences. It is also found that the Standpoint theory affects “power status” differently. This can be seen greatly when looking at the various types of donors that can be found all over that we try to reach out to. Because all the donors live in different parts of the country and have had different experiences with Longwood University and the institutional advancement department, their opinions of the process are going to be based off those factors. Another way it can be found is by the donors who give large amounts periodically or by those who give smaller amounts once a year. Each of these types of donors are going to get different feedback and responses from the workers in the office. The second theory, which I mentioned in a prior journal entry, is the theory of intersectionality. This theory states that each individual you encounter has multiple layers that make up their identity. You are not just white or female, but so much more. This can also be seen when dealing with the donors. Each donor that chooses to give to Longwood is different. They donate different sums of money to different funds, but they all receive a thank you letter. These letters need to be tailored to each individual so that it’s more personal and motivates them to donate more. Within this letter, we need to reach out to each layer of the donor, the layer that is a father/mother, Longwood alum, and member of a Greek organization. By doing this we create a more powerful and personal relationship with the donor.

Journal #4

The class that has helped me the most would have to be interpersonal communication. With any internship you will have to be communicating with other coworkers and potentially clients, so the way you speak and interact with them is important. I learned from that class that when in the work place you need to be assertive when trying to speak so that you’re heard. I also learned that body language is everything. You may seem like you’re in a good mood when talking with a donor but if your body language doesn’t agree with your tone, the other party in the conversation can easily pick up on that. Another class that I believe has helped me a lot is communication in a diverse society. I think this particular class has helped me because the people that I come in contact with and interact with are a diverse group of people. Even if I am not coming into contact with them in person, the emails that I send out and the thank you notes that I write to each donor, are tailored to each individual. This would not be such an easy task if I didn’t know the correct way to word things and even how to tailor a note appropriately. When you write a letter that is supposed to be directed towards a certain person, the concept of intersectionality really comes into play. To write an effective letter that captures the reader and makes them believe that you really care, you need to address them on a personal level and delve into their different layers. The third class that I believe has helped me in a huge way, is public speaking. Coming into communication studies, I didn’t like to speak in front of people and when I had to meet new people, I was shy and couldn’t put my words together the way I wanted to. Public speaking has helped me learn that meeting new people isn’t scary. I no longer am afraid to speak in fear that I am going to stutter or sound like I don’t know what I am talking about. Public speaking has given me the confidence I needed to fully immerse myself into a work environment.

Journal #3

Since my last journal entry I have learned that I am more capable then I see myself as. When I first entered this position I was very nervous and shy and afraid to share my opinion. But I have learned/realized that they want me to participate and share what I have to say. What really got me out of my shell was running the Institutional Advancement booth at the freshman orientation. The first day I was with another coworker in the office but for the next 3 days I was by myself. This forced me to be more open and energetic, which is exactly what I needed. My job at freshman orientation was to get people excited and willing to participate. By doing so I needed to get past my fears. Thankfully though, the challenges that I face are getting less and less. While I’m not afraid of most things, now I am just afraid to bother others. One example is needing to print something. The computer I was given is not hooked up to a printer so I need to find someone in the office to help me but I feel bad bothering them about something little when I feel they have more important things to do. All of these experiences are helping me though because I’m learning first hand that while I’m not particularly on the same level of the others in the office, we are equals. It should be common knowledge but this internship has made me realize that I want a job where everyone is equal to each other. It’s also helping me realize that while I don’t have a set career picked out yet, I know that I want to look for one that has this same atmosphere and concept. I love that the people working in this office are so close to the donors/clients. It is a special kind of relationship and I hope that the job that I get is similar in that sense.

Journal #2

So far during this internship I have learned many things. The most important thing that I have learned is to not be afraid. I am always weary about sharing my thoughts and opinions on things because I fear they are not good enough. While I am still working on this flaw, I feel like I am coming to terms with the fact that I have no reason to be afraid. I am at this internship to learn and grow so that when the time comes I am ready for a real job and no longer have obstacles to overcome. I will not be judged here because the other workers in the office are here to teach me. So while that is something I am learning that is also the biggest challenge I have faced. I have no shown my full potential because I am still holding back out of fear. But fortunately I feel myself breaking out of my shell more and wanting to be more involved. Also during this internship so far I have learned the value of teamwork. While conducting one-on-one interviews with everyone in the office I noticed a pattern. Each of them mentioned teamwork and how this office would not run as smoothly without it. Sacrifices need to be made in order to get all the work done so they made it clear that no one is above any work that is presented. These experiences have helped me when thinking about a future career because I have realized that the environment of the office has a bigger impact on work than one would think. It is important to have a comfortable and open work environment so that you know the best work is being put forth. I hope that when the times comes I am lucky enough to be a part of a work atmosphere as wonderful as this one.

Journal #1

This internship is in the Institutional Advancement Office. I will be assisting several of the workers in the office so my duties will vary throughout the weeks I am there. The more simple things that I have been doing and will continue to do are writing thank you notes to the donors of Longwood. Even though this seems like such a simple and miniscule task, it is one of the most important because the advancement takes pride in their personal relationships with the many donors seeing how the gifts they give have a big impact on the Longwood community. Some of the other things I have done is stuff and send out event invitations as well as make the place cards for the event. I have also started a sample book of the all the invites and work that has been created in the office. I will continue to add to the as I go throughout the internship. I have also helped research other schools philanthropic history to see if we are able to compare ourselves to them. There are other projects that have been mentioned but have not been in detail. I will use my skill of interpersonal communication throughout this internship. I will also use my skills of multitasking, improvising, and quick learning to succeed and do my best while filling this position. I really hope to gain from this internship, being assertive. I always am very timid in new environments and I feel like I miss out on opportunities because I am afraid to speak up. The second thing I am not missing but I feel like I need to refine and make better. My communication skills are good but I hope that this internship pushes me to be more confident when speaking with others because this skill is not where I wish it was.

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