When reflecting on both my internship and the path that has led me here, this is the question I have been seeking to answer: what will I do with what I know? And for over-thinkers like me, the natural follow-up question is: what is it exactly that I know? While giving a presentation about Blood:Water to a high school youth group, I realized that, as of this year, I have had 19 years of education. That is 76 percent of my life spent in the formalized pursuit of knowing.
Thinking about being at Blood:Water and Vanderbilt University this past year, as well as all additional years of both formal and informal education, what I undoubtedly know to be true is that I am most alive and excited when I am learning, studying, and experiencing in a way that leads toward knowing and pursuing a holistic African development.
Above all else, when reflecting on my time at Blood:Water as the engagement intern, I recognize the incredible opportunities I have been given to simultaneously use and pursue this knowledge. I have grown in knowledge through learning more about the incredible partners we work with, and to help write grant proposals and interact with donors who believe in the work Blood:Water supports.
However, most importantly, beyond my own pursuit of knowing, I have had the blessing of working alongside people who are using their own unique sets of skills in meaningful ways. I have seen the way individuals bring database, accounting, marketing, communication, development, organizational, and other knowledge into the meaningful work that is being done. In other words, I have had the opportunity to see the lived-out responses of the Blood:Water team answering the question, “What will you do with what you know?” And it is the collective manifestation of these responses that allows Blood:Water to function, and be the organization that it is, which has made all the difference to me throughout my time here as an intern.
P.S. I liked it so much, I decided not to leave. My first day as a full-time employee at Blood:Water was two days ago. I’m excited and honored to take on a new role as the systems assistant!