When a closed door opens again: How Lauren went from being an intern to a full-time employee
Written by Lauren Grooms (BA, 2014), who is the Development Associate at a non-profit organization called The HealthCare Connection.
Hello there! My name is Lauren Grooms. I graduated in August of 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. I was recently given a full-time position at my internship over the summer and wanted to share my story.
Last year, I was gracing the halls of McMicken, spending my time at TUC, walking to classes in the freezing cold, and now I have my own office at a multi-million dollar non-profit organization?! Ok, flashback a bit to January of 2014. It was about to be spring semester, and my college journey was slowly coming to an end. I knew I absolutely needed an internship. Being a commuter student made it tough to be in clubs, sororities, and other activities. Most of the time, I had to drive home and go straight to work after a full day of classes. I am a first generation college student, so it was hard for my parents to see that I really needed an internship. They weren’t sure what an internship was or what it means for college students. I went to a couple internship/job fairs but didn’t get any call backs. I applied to a couple internships online, went to even more fairs, but nothing ever worked out for me. I was feeling really down and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Then, in March I was sitting in TUC eating lunch, and I got a call from a strange number. It was an internship I had applied to months ago. They seemed very excited about me coming in to interview and I was ecstatic. My mood completely flipped, I finally had a chance!
As I interviewed, I was amazed at what this organization does for people. It is a non-profit called The HealthCare Connection, and they help people who are uninsured or underinsured get the care they need. A couple weeks after the interview, they called me back to let me know I got the internship and they wanted me to start as soon as possible. That first weekend, we had booths at the Flying Pig Marathon , and I was thrust right in to helping with their fundraising events. My work with them on the weekends didn’t count toward my college credit, but I felt it was important to show them how hard of a worker I was.
At that internship, I learned so much of what it meant to work in an office, help with events, and learn about fundraising and non-profits. I was really moved by the organization’s mission and was really hoping I could work there after I graduated. Since it is a non-profit, it is hard for them to create jobs and salaries, so they weren’t able to offer me a position that was paid. I understood, and began applying like crazy to jobs around the city. I had a couple of interviews but never found anything I was interested in, and was rarely getting call backs. It’s hard when you’ve just finished 4 years of college and spent thousands of dollars but you’re still not getting anywhere. I was really down again, and I felt like I was going to be a server forever. I also felt like my internship got me nowhere… and was questioning if it was worth it.
Suddenly, on December 30th I got a call, and it was my internship telling me my old supervisor had taken a job elsewhere and they wanted me to interview for her position.
Not only was that an insane surprise, but it was a rush of different emotions all swirling around in my head. Since I had so many issues finding a job the last five months, this call was a miracle. The only experience I had was interning there, so I figured there’s no way I was the only one they were interviewing…
Well, I was wrong. I was the only one they called and I was practically given the job before they even interviewed me.
They told me I got the job on New Year’s Eve and I was just over the moon. I had finally got a job, in the exact field I wanted to be in, doing something I really enjoyed.
This experience truly gave me a lesson in patience. Just because you aren’t going to immediately get a position with someone, doesn’t mean they will never offer you one in the future. I thought my internship was a closed door. However, I realized that if you work really hard and show that you’re interested and willing to do whatever it takes, people will notice you and think of you when an opportunity comes along.