End of Semester Reflection on MIT D-Lab

At the beginning of my internship, I choose three words to describe the professional experience goals I wanted to adhere throughout my time at MIT D-Lab. The three words I would describe my professional identity is through community-centered, research and resourcefulness.

The first phase of my internship was understanding the wide range of work that MIT D-Lab does and the impact of the organization. I was delighted to know that D-Lab has made a positive impact in global communities in Africa, Europe, and India by giving people the tools to design and create their solutions. I love this user-centered approach that D-Lab uses especially because it different compared to how saturated development work is with white-centered solutions without listening to those impacted. I also have taken a community-centered approach through networking and building relationships with my mentor and other workers at MIT D-Lab. Being community-centered means also being resourceful.  Because I took the time to connect with people at D-Lab, I had a great deal of support during my internship.

For instance, I talked to the communication manager who helped me with understanding outreach strategies and even helped me with outlining a senior proposal for my college. Due to the nature of my special project, research was part of every part of my special project. Interestingly, even though I have completed several research projects, I struggled with narrowing down my research results. During my desk research, I found an immense amount of information on organizations that were like D-Lab. Talking with my mentor helped me to narrow down the research and focus on quality over quantity content.

Looking at these three words that I have chosen for my professional experience, I would change them from research to creativity. I would make this switch because creating the deliverables from the project made me realize how much creativity is required in all the work I undertake. So I want to emphasize creativity because it is a hard but rewarding skill. Being able to practice creativity is what helped me craft my recommendations for D-Lab and what has pushed me in every component of my internship. I had to practice creativity for making a blog post on Inclusive Business Leaders for D-Lab. I had to practice creativity for the number of different graphics I created for D-Lab’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Learning the design principle was crucial to making my creative work better and more accessible.

In terms of my career development, my internship has helped me narrow my career interests. I made great efforts to talk to other coworkers about their various work experiences in development to see if I can see myself being happy in their industries. I learned that working at small organizations might not be the best fit for me because of experiences with overworking and not having a great work/life balance. I am still working toward finding a career that will allow me to combine my talents and interest. In finding this dream career path, I also emphasize being able to have a healthy and great work-life balance. This is because being able to live and spend time with those who love me and support me is extremely important to me with whatever career path I land on.