As a recent college grad joining the intern bunch, I knew my experience would be somewhat unique. Everyone else was still a student, whereas I had already completed my degree, experienced the 9-5 office life, and viewed the “real world” through a different lens than a college student might. However, the staff at the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund recognized that this internship would be a valuable learning experience for a post-grad gal trying to renavigate her career path, and they welcomed me with open arms.
Like most interns joining the Planned Parenthood team, I was already passionate about social justice issues such as gender and racial equality, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, reproductive rights, and so on. Working alongside my fellow interns, I saw that we were all pushing for the same forward-thinking goals, while also maintaining our own individual quirks and methods. Some love collecting and entering data, while others enjoy talking with patients and gathering stories. Working in the reproductive health field can be grueling, but the ability to collaborate with an amazing team has made the process a whole lot easier.
The internship program allows for each individual to work at their own pace and comfort level, while also gently nudging us out of that guarded comfort zone. For me, I was encouraged to move out of my comfort zone when I found out I would be knocking on doors in Portland to canvass about protecting abortion access and fighting the People’s Veto. As much as walking up to doors to discuss abortion scared the living hell out of me, I was able to view the task at hand as a learning opportunity, which it certainly was. I was pleasantly surprised by the rich conversations and engagements I had with the residents of Portland about reproductive rights and access to care. The more doors I knocked on, the more comfortable I felt talking about abortion with people. And from there, I was able to teach people about current issues impacting Mainers, and they were able to teach me new things as well.
As the internship comes to an end, I’m excited to know that Planned Parenthood is a door to many more opportunities ahead. Organizing, canvassing, education, abortion care, and policy are just a few avenues that have been showcased to the interns. Planned Parenthood will forever be an essential cornerstone in both my career path and my personal life, and I’m so grateful for this newfound gift.