This summer, I’ve had the joy of working with Positive Voices as one of their summer interns. When I first started, I honestly didn’t know exactly what to expect and what I would learn. Looking back at these past 13 weeks, I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the ways I’ve grown, and perhaps most importantly, the relationships I’ve made (the Positive Voices team and community!).

What was my role this summer? Being at a growing company, I had the opportunity to really jump into everything. The other intern, Naomi, and I both helped out wherever we could and also brought our own ideas to the table. I personally did a lot of marketing work; I helped manage our social media, worked with Naomi on release packages (for our interview series), revamped our Youtube channel, and made inspirational placards grounded in science (the ones you might see on our Facebook page). I also worked on a Facebook audit and helped kick start the Positive Voices Changemaker Community with the team. Basically, my role allowed me to help where we needed help, while also taking initiative and jumping into projects I felt passionate about. (Positive Voices is working on some pretty cool stuff!)

Here are some of the many lessons I’ve learned, and I hope you take something away from reading this as well:

The Joys and Difficulties of a Benefit Corporation and Start-up

I am currently a rising sophomore at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. I was actually first interested in business when I realized that businesses have so much potential to make a positive impact in this world. I’ve always thought about starting up a nonprofit or business and this summer, it was an incredible experience to see first hand the joys and the difficulties of a startup.

Day to day, there is so much hard work that is done behind the scenes, from brainstorming sessions down to sending email after email enthusiastically. I am so grateful for the Positive Voices team and all that they do. It was humbling to see how big impacts really are a sum of small, often repetitive actions, and loving hard work. And it was also thrilling to feel the impact we were making, when one person smiled at a community event or someone commented on how they really needed a message we shared.

So here’s my message to you and myself. If you want to make a change, it will take hard work and there will be days when you aren’t sure it was worth it, but it will be, because what is done in love and what gives to others always is.

The Importance of a Community and a Team

I was reminded time and time again of the importance of a loving community and a strong team. Each team member inspired me as well as the entire Positive Voices community. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous before our first community meeting that took place after a live interview. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I left the interview giddy with excitement. The environment was so uplifting, even through my computer screen on Zoom! I loved it and was reminded yet again of the power of a community working together to change ourselves and the world.

The Importance of Internalizing What You Learn

This summer, I helped create many of the placards for our social media that had inspiring quotes. Writing the placards and designing them in itself was very inspiring. But I was constantly reminded, working for such an uplifting organization grounded in the science of positive psychology, that no matter how many times I hear something, I have to internalize the advice for myself for it to actualize. And even if we already know something, reminders are so important.

For example, I like to think of myself as a positive person, and many of my friends might describe me like so, but oftentimes I still catch myself getting stuck in my own head (you know, those negative loops), and I realize, I have so, so much to learn and room to grow. So here’s to internalizing what we know and truly challenging ourselves!

Believe in Your Work

On another note, believe your work matters! If you do, your quality of work will increase so much more too. (And spoiler alert: If you’re doing something in love, it probably matters! I’m sure you’ve touched so many people’s lives, and here’s some encouragement to keep going and have faith!)

It’s been such a joy this summer to work for an organization whose mission I strongly align with. I am passionate about positive psychology as well as the intersection between psychology and business, and I felt like spending my summer with Positive Voices gave me the opportunity to explore many of my interests, grow as a person, and give back to the community.

Thank you so much to everyone on the Positive Voices team and the entire Positive Voices community for an amazing summer!