Everyone has been hit by COVID-19. It has affected everyone in numerous ways, especially young people. Those who have had internships have lost them, which has taken a toll on all of us. As we stay inside, wondering the next time life will be “normal” again, we try to find ways to keep ourselves busy. I, Lamiya Cotton, had an internship at the SF Ballet, which was terminated due to COVID-19. Once this termination happened, I thought my entire summer was over. I was truly upset that the internship that I was so excited about was stripped away. While it was upsetting to lose this opportunity, many of us have experienced this feeling of loss.
Throughout my sophomore and junior year of high school, I have been with the Enterprise team, who have provided one of my first jobs, and also allowed me to work at the SF Ballet. Instead of giving up and not doing anything during the summer, Enterprise offered a different kind of internship which would be over Zoom. During these Zoom meetings, I would learn about different careers, read autobiographies from amazing people, learn more about financial literacy, and most importantly, learn and understand who I am and how I can become my best self. Throughout these five weeks, I have learned four important skills that I have chosen to talk about and will forever be with me as I continue to work on myself.
The first thing I have learned is to always use connections that are provided to you. All of us youth had an opportunity to talk with people from various professions, such as technology and business, and some of them allowed us to keep in contact with them. They told us to chat with them about anything, to ask follow up questions, and most importantly they offered to be a guide for us in the future.
The next takeaway is to always ask questions, even if you already know the answer. There is never a “dumb question,” because all things are valid, which is what Enterprise has taught me. Asking questions just to make sure or even if you are completely confused shows that you are attentive and interested.
While talking one-on-one with more professionals, I discovered that the school you attend does not determine your future. The media portrays that the people who are very successful in life went to the best schools, however, the panelists have taught us that experience and connections will get you the furthest in life. We must begin to understand that although we may hear that people have gone to these amazing world-renowned schools, we should be proud of where we go and what we do in the future.
Lastly, the most important takeaway I have received from this internship is to continue chasing your dreams, follow your heart, and whatever you do, be passionate about it. As I continued to converse and engage with the amazing speakers from the various positions ranging from nursing to finance, each and everyone had varied career paths. They went from aspiring to do one job and ending up doing the career they are in now and love. This has opened up my eyes the most because I am currently focused on the business field but may never know what the future has in store for me.
Although we have faced unprecedented times over the past several months, Enterprise has allowed me to find the light through the dark tunnel. I went from being upset about a lost internship to having so much fun at another while staying at home. From the people I have met, the mentors I have worked with, and the peers who became my friends, I am very thankful for this crazy, but wonderful experience via Zoom.
By Lamiya Cotton, Enterprise for Youth intern
July 29, 2020