by Aidan Connaughton
I don’t know anything about communications. In fact, I don’t even particularly love to write – as a freshman at Harvard University, I discovered I would much rather take an exam than spend hours creating, editing, and revising an essay. I love to read, but writing can be a daunting chore for me. Yet somehow I found myself becoming the Communications Intern for El Pomar Foundation, a job which involves writing every single day. The challenge of identifying and creating relevant content is formidable by itself, but furthermore, it was my task to help make it attention-grabbing and easy to consume. Terrified, but intrigued, I dove into a world that I knew nothing about, praying that no one would catch on that I was a complete amateur.
Much to my (happy) surprise, when I arrived at El Pomar, I found a kind and patient group of people that were willing to support me, even as they held me to high standards. I found that my work would not consist solely of menial paperwork and banal “intern duties,” but actually it would involve a creative, vibrant, and collaborative process to create blog entries, Facebook posts, and newsletters that are both interesting and informative. Our team’s goals are somewhat fluid and hard to measure: we get very little feedback, and the impact of our content is often qualitative and subjective, especially since we are not selling anything nor are we attempting to attract donors or volunteers. This forces us to put out the best work that we can, because there is no quality that is “sufficient” for our goals; we can always do better. The successful strategies of a social media campaign, the unique and eye-catching design of a newsletter, and the crucial details of a press release are all tasks that require a lot of thought and effort by a team of overseers. Whereas writing essays in school can be a fairly solitary task, the Communications team lives through collaboration.
I still shy away from writing, but I’m growing to appreciate it day by day. As I continue to practice writing, I am learning to identify areas where I can improve and how I can best use my strengths. Communications work has forced me to think more critically about how organizations run their social media accounts and it has already given me so many opportunities to hone my writing skills and understand how organizations can effectively communicate. Throughout the summer, I enjoyed creating clear, concise, and captivating content while having the chance to learn about all of the work that El Pomar Foundation does. I may dislike writing, but I could never dislike working here!