Making the Most of a Pandemic Summer

September 10, 2020
Naomi Hess

Like many of my peers, I was forced to change my plans for the summer as the world shifted online due to COVID-19. While my sophomore summer didn’t turn out exactly how I expected, I feel fortunate to have had a variety of fulfilling and enriching experiences, all from my childhood bedroom in Maryland.

Originally, I was supposed to intern in Congress through the American Association of People with Disabilities Internship Program. I had really been looking forward to living in Washington, D.C. and working on Capitol Hill. The in-person component of my internship was postponed until next year. However, the program still offered all interns a certificate in disability advocacy through American University online. I learned about the impact of important public policy issues like education, employment and healthcare on people with disabilities. I got to meet an amazing group of young adults who share my passion in disability advocacy, and hopefully we’ll all be together in D.C. next summer.

At first, I didn’t think I would find a formal internship, as I expected most to already be filled. I spent a lot of time searching for internship listings related to my interest in women’s rights and social justice. Luckily, my search was successful. After an application and interview process, I received a fantastic internship offer to work virtually as a Communications and Engagement Intern for Global Fund for Women, an international gender justice organization. In this position, I managed a virtual film screening tour, compiled relevant news articles, conducted media outreach, and much more. I gained valuable communications skills and learned what it’s like to work for a nonprofit organization. I look forward to expanding my knowledge about gender justice by taking classes in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

I also worked as a research assistant for a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs. I helped gather information for her research project about mayoral elections. I enjoyed this first foray into political research, and it was good preparation for my upcoming independent work.

As if I wasn’t already busy enough, my final summer commitment was continuing to edit articles for The Daily Princetonian in my position as Associate News Editor. We don’t usually publish much over the summer, but there was so much important news for us to cover. I am glad we continued our mission of keeping the campus connected and informed.

This summer ended up being quite busy, but I enjoyed every commitment I had and I gained many valuable skills and knowledge that will help me in the future. I did somehow manage to find some free time to catch up on my long reading list, binge watch shows on Netflix and talk to my awesome friends. I am grateful I was able to do so much even during a pandemic summer.