My Journey to Maturity
I’ve always loved the library. When I was younger, I remember I used to visit just to look at the turtle tank in the Children’s department. As a preteen, I would spend hours sitting in the beanbags and scanning the comics. And now, even as a teenager, I go to the library just to get out of the house. It’s a place where I can just relax, get homework done if I need to, use the computers for work, and just chat to get things off my chest. The librarians there, especially the teen librarians, are so compassionate. If they’re not busy, they’ll just sit and listen to you rant for hours. They’re always so willing to drop whatever they’re doing to help you and they always offer the best advice.
The summer of 2013, the summer after my sophomore year, I was chosen to participate in a summer internship at my local library. Like any other job, I had to fill out an application and go in for an interview. I was thrilled when I got the email that I had gotten the internship. What could be better than working at my most favorite place? A few days after school got out, all of the interns had to come in for an informational meeting, to learn about what we would be doing in the internship and meet who would be working with. There were six interns in total. I was placed in a group with two kids, Sonia and Connor, and we were assigned to work on Mondays and Wednesdays. The other interns, Valencia, Elizabeth, and Erika, were assigned to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
There were two parts to the internship. For half of the internship, interns worked with a video production group. We were given the task of creating a video over the course of our internship that would portray a day in the life of an intern. Through this process we got to know the camera and video tools and we learned how to use them. We were also taught how to storyboard or plan out our film, which was great practice for the planning that later jobs might require. We became comfortable with online editing and, in the process, learned many things about the film field.
The second part of the internship was much more library based. In this part, we interns were expected to do several things, which included -but were not limited to- shelving books, tidying up the teen department, taking phone calls, helping patrons find what they’re looking for, weeding (the process of removing books no longer being checked out from the system), and manning -er, womaning- the desk. Through this section of the internship, we were taught how to organize, alphabetize and shelve books correctly and efficiently. We were also taught how to respectfully answer phone calls and emails and where to pull up information we might be asked for. We were also taught the importance of good communication skills and how to put said skills into practice. When we couldn’t come in for work one day, we were responsible for contacting the other interns to find a substitute.
Through this internship, I learned a lot. Not only about the library and the skills needed to work there, but also about myself. At the beginning of the internship, I was not a very confident young lady. I was shy and insecure: I never spoke up, for fear of what others might think of me. But the internship put an end to that very quickly. It demanded that I move out of my comfort zone to approach my administration, my fellow interns, and the patrons around me. Both of the interns I worked with were very much unique. Both of them knew who they were and were extremely confident in themselves. After spending a few weeks with them, it became very obvious to them and to myself that I had no confidence at all. I let others define who I was, and, in turn, became simply another drone of society.
The first month of the internship was quite difficult for me emotionally. I am the middle child of three, and I was accustomed to living under my older sister’s shadow. However, at that time she had just graduated from high school and was beginning to move out. For once in my life, I had no sister to hide behind, to cling to, and to follow. I was forced to make friends on my own, solely determine right from wrong, and find my own path. This left me completely and utterly lost. I had no sense of self-confidence: all that had come from my sister. She was the social butterfly, not I. But now she was moving on in her life and moving out of mine, and that was a lot to take in.
Because I had no sense of who I was, being around people with such confidence and direction made me feel incredibly alone. I tried to fit in, but I still felt as if I didn’t belong. It wasn’t fair to Sonia and Connor to work with a girl who had absolutely no idea who she was. To be completely honest, I didn’t completely open up to them until the very end of the internship, for I was burdened down with the thought that if they knew what I was really like, they wouldn’t like me. My insecurities rose to any occasion. My insecurity was all I had ever known. No one knew, but I had been skipping meals. I had such a hatred for myself that couldn’t be explained. I was mad at the world for how it had treated me, and kept all that anger pent up inside. I let it boil and stir, fueling my insecurity and doubt.
But the internship blew all that away. Over the summer, the internship slowly pulled me out of my shell. For the first time in forever, I felt truly accepted by people. The more Sonia and Connor learned about me, the more they seemed to accept me. Through their love and friendship, I began to see what my life could be with a little bit of self confidence.
The internship forced me to socialize. That sounds horrible, I know, but it came with the territory. I was a librarian-in-training, and it was my duty to help whenever and wherever and whoever I could. The patrons of the library looked at me with a sense of respect that I had never received from anyone before. They depended on me to get them what they needed, and I was responsible for assisting them in the absolute best manner that I knew how. Having a duty like that made me realize that I was important to the well-being of the library and that I made a difference.
For the following two months of the internship, I began to view myself in a brand new way. I carried myself with new poise and direction. When I spoke, no longer did I bury my gaze into the fibers of the carpet. I made direct eye contact and spoke with a purpose. I began to care less about what others thought of me. I was a beautiful, God-crafted young lady with a purpose. As long as I knew this, it didn’t matter what other people thought of me. I had my friends. I had people who loved and accepted me, and that was all I needed.
If I had to choose one thing that led me to maturity, then this is it. The internship was my transition from childhood to a mature adolescence. Because of the internship, I can finally look at myself and not be disgusted by what I see. Because of the internship, I am a new person. I look back at the person I was before and I only wish i had learned what I know now much sooner. Because, through the internship, I became something I thought I would never be.
I became me.
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