November 11, 2019
The "Wheaties in the World" MyWheaton blogs feature students' internship experiences over the past summer.
Wheaties in the World: T.J. Whitfield
T.J. Whitfield '20 is a media and communication major. In this MyWheaton blog post, T.J. shares about his experience working with Living Abundantly Ministries this summer.
Where was your internship? Do you think your location heavily affected your experience?
I had the joy and privilege of being able to work from home remotely. Multiple times a week, my supervisor and I would connect on the phone to go over projects, update on events, and do general brainstorming. While I frequently attended events and work on several projects with her in the Wheaton area, I enjoyed being able to do a primary amount of work from home. It was beneficial for me because while I had a comfortable space in which to get work completed, I was also able to spend valuable time with family. Because my family endured several hardships this summer, including a death, being able to be present for those moments was so vital and important to me.
What were your day-to-day responsibilities?
I was responsible for three primary tasks over the summer: leading the change to a new website platform as well as designing the new website, updating and managing all social media profiles, and creating content for promotional use including posters, bookmarks, church guides etc. On a normal day, I may begin by researching elements of web platforms or developing strategies for social media outreach.
What was most challenging about the experience?
One of the most challenging aspects of the internship was the frequency of being put into responsibilities that I wasn’t familiar with. Going into the job, I had a basic understanding of my role and what was expected of me. But early in the summer, I realized my expectations needed some adjusting. While I thought I would be simply creating posters in Adobe Illustrator, I was quickly knee-deep in research as I was spearheading our switch to a new web platform. Between researching platforms and features and reporting on them, I covered plenty of ground for the large project. But through that experience, I grew to understand and respect the steps, dedication, and detail it took to properly lead the project. Working on the unfamiliar tasks was at times daunting, but it was comforting to have supervisors that were not only prepared to challenge you, but were also prepared to walk alongside you in watching you grow. While I initially thought my role would come in towards the end of the project, I am now pleased to know that I had a hand in it every step of the way.
What was most influential to you, both for the rest of your time at Wheaton and beyond?
This role was influential to me in two major aspects: time management and the ability to work amongst a body of believers. In terms of time management, working from home is amazing, comfy, relaxing - everything you don’t need your work environment to be. For this position, I had to train myself to stay focused; to think about the reward of finishing a task well and using that as motivation. By working amongst believers, my experience was truly shaped by the ability to end a meeting in prayer or recount on how God has moved in the company. If filled me with the constant hope and reminder that we’re not just a company selling a product, but that we’re a group of people trying to bring others closer to Christ in what we do daily.
Do you think you’ll pursue similar workplace experiences in the future? Why or why not?
Going into the workplace, secular fields surround us. Based on my own preferences, it is hard for me to see myself finding a first job in a distinctly Christian environment. But I do appreciate the ability to vividly watch and proclaim God working amongst us with my supervisors and co-workers. I also see myself pursuing the experience of constantly learning new things and seeking to improve myself, and I only see this happening by stepping out of my comfort zone, allowing myself the opportunity to experience all that is offered to me. Regardless of whether I do work in a Christian or secular career post-graduation, I will continue to acknowledge how God prepares me for whatever He has in store. Even if my future co-workers are unaware of it, I will notice and appreciate how God is moving in our business.
Lastly, what was your favorite part?
My favorite part of this internship was working alongside the Living Abundantly Ministries team everyday. It was incredible to see the passion they share for this ministry and for our “Come Alive!” program. In my weekly calls with my supervisor, she would share what was currently happening in the ministry and I could visibly see how God was providing for and blessing every step we took, every individual who wanted to partner with us, and every person who was changed through this program. Seeing the utter joy this brought to the Living Abundantly Team was an experience I will never forget. I will appreciate having a body of believers that no matter where I go will support me, help guide me, and remind me of the love and plans Christ has for me.
Find out more about Wheaton’s internships at the CVC.