Say what you will about internships – they’re really a sure-fire method for finding what your passions are, what your unique talents are, the path you want your life to take – alright, in all fairness, an internship isn’t guaranteed to give you an answer to all of these burning questions, but they certainly won’t hurt, especially if you’re open to trying new things and taking initiative.
I’ve been interning with Sister Cities of Wilmington for about a year now. I had wanted to intern for a sister cities organization for some time, and I stumbled upon the organization during an impassioned Google search my first semester on campus. I didn’t see any actual internship opportunities listed on their website, but I decided to reach out using their convenient “Contact Us” form to inquire whether they had any need for interns.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe I’d get a no. Maybe I’d get no answer at all. But walking out of Morris Library one night, I got a notification on my phone with an email saying that they were interested, and the rest is history!
By the end of last fall semester, I knew I needed a serious recharge. It started fairly well and carried on as well as semesters can go, but after retrospect (which most realizations are apt to stem from), I had a delayed realization as to why that post-finals, drained feeling was hanging a bit heavier over my shoulders.
After the collective last-minute struggle of abruptly adapting and transitioning to virtual learning last spring, as well as my choice to take a class over the summer, I realized that this past fall was the first fully virtual semester, stacked credits and all. Sure, it may have been a not-so-sharp realization, but knowledge is power, and this definitely had an impact on me. Last fall was neither the hybrid mix of the spring nor a single class over June. It was a set of core courses, heavy with foundational curriculum, and for some of them, the additional rigorous standards and expectations of my Honors sections—all of which were taken while I wrapped myself in a blanket at my desk at home.
So yes, suffice it to say that the build-up of Zoom fatigue from last fall more than definitely garnered some much needed R&R and winter break was a welcome reprieve. However, I knew I shouldn’t stay idle for too long, lest I mentally regress and sink into the Lauren-shaped mold in my couch for the next four weeks. Despite the extremely valid need for rest, I knew I wanted to be productive over winter session, especially considering I didn’t do very much during this time the previous year. (Hindsight at its finest once again.)
Therefore, this past January I was fortunate enough to participate in a virtual international engineering internship, which not only kept me from withdrawing into a weighted blanket-induced hibernation but more significantly helped me gain great work experience in a really unique way. I was placed in a group with other UD engineers and paired off with the medical device company Renerve Ltd. based in Melbourne, Australia. Our task was to design and formulate a surgical implant product that met a desired function and applications and to provide a full-scale proposal for the product rationale, research and development, regulatory pathways, manufacturing, and marketing strategies—all within four weeks. Continue reading