Not “Just an Intern”

As a semi-fluid continuation of my blog last week regarding the great culture at BBBS and the heavy value they place on each individual, I want to confess a bad habit I have, and start recognizing my own value.

On more than one occasion (four to be exact), when introducing myself to someone new within the organization I say, “Oh, I’m just the intern.” Every single time, without fail, the BBBS employee has said to me “Well you’re not JUST an intern.” The people here are incredibly kind, and while I agreed, I thought that they were just being nice. This week, the same interaction occurred when we were out at an event with an employer from another company. This interaction may seem really miniscule and insignificant, but I think there is a greater issue at hand here.

Maybe it is because I am a millennial that struggles with self-worth, maybe it is because I am a woman that is often overridden in a work space, or maybe it is because I am always the youngest person in the room. But for some reason, I can’t seem to shake the phrase “just an intern”, and value myself as an integral part of this amazing team that is working hard for this community. This series of events led me to reflect on other times in my life I devalue my worth. When I am babysitting my niece, I say “I’m just her aunt.” When I introduce myself to someone at a bar I say “I’m just a student.” When I am leading tours for prospective students and parents on campus, I say “I’m just an ambassador.” I see all these “just” phrases beginning to pile up and I realize if I do not start valuing myself and the roles I play in each community I am a part of, how will anyone else value me. And more than that, how can I fulfill my responsibilities in each role to the best of my ability if I don’t find value in my position. We talked about adding value to a community this week, and my goal for this summer is to shake “just” phrases, so that I can add value to each community and finally see the value in myself.

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