Joining YUVA as an intern was my first step into the job market. I did not quite know what to expect for what was supposed to be my big dive into the professional world. On the other hand, the corporate world I at least had some knowledge of, the non-profit world, felt like I had stumbled upon Narnia, scary, vast, and unexplored but exciting, nonetheless.
While I did have some informal experience in social work from the past occasional fundraising event in the past, working for a large NGO such as YUVA in a formal setting was a completely novel experience. My journey there was no less than an adventure. After suffering numerous rejections and endless ghosting by big corporations, I applied for an internship at YUVA on a whim, resigned to another rejection or worse, no reply at all. The shock I received after being contacted merely hours after sending my application for an interview left me reeling. I remained sceptical until the day of the interview, by the end of which I was so sure I’d already destroyed any chance at professional redemption due to my nervous disposition. I believed it was nothing short of a miracle when I was allowed to intern directly under the supervision of the executive director, Mr Krishna Athal.
Due to the COVID situation, I missed out on the office experience with the internship being online. However, I was given enough space and the creative freedom needed to produce quality articles in return. With occasional meetings and thorough discussion of tasks, I was given enough leeway to work without enormous pressure. I have always enjoyed writing, but I was not passionate enough to pursue it as a career. YUVA allowed me to cross over into the professional world by doing something that I love and something meaningful. Writing articles and reports meant I had to do intensive reading and research.
As an epistemophile, I took great joy in soaking up new knowledge and broadening my horizons. Under the watchful guidance of the executive director, I strived to deliver my best.
Good work was met with compliments, and the bar for quality kept rising with each task, which pushed me to improve constantly, but as is wont to happen as a newbie, I made my fair share of mistakes. However, oversights were met with calm acknowledgement and solutions instead of a warning. I was given a chance to reflect and work on my shortcomings which allowed me to grow.
Indeed, juggling university and work was no easy feat, but I eventually learned to cope with the pressure. I had to work around deadlines for schoolwork and office work which clashed often. Dedicating enough time to my university work and office tasks while also making time for myself to prevent burnout was quite tricky. Nonetheless, I managed to find a delicate balance between school and work. Time management and multitasking were essential skills that I learned during this period which will help me manage my future career. I was graciously allowed to ask for extensions that my boss always granted when I had to prioritise university. The kind understanding and cooperation I was met with made my journey at YUVA such a pleasant experience.
I end my internship at YUVA with equal part sadness and joy as I come out of this journey as a better person. YUVA may not have been where I intended to go, but I believe it was definitely where I was meant to be.
Vijeshna Ramkalawon, YUVA Intern and BSc (Hons) Finance Student at the University of Mauritius
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