For my STEP Signature Project, I interned with one of my professors and mentors, Dr. Brenda Buffington. I shadowed and assisted her in two of her workplaces: Buckeye Wellness and AccelWELL. At Buckeye Wellness, I was able to help organize the annual Family Wellness Expo, work on our new wellness initiative “Just Breathe”, and manage social media posts. At Accelwell, I got a firsthand look at corporate health coaching.
The biggest transformation that took place for me during this internship was my desire to be in a public setting to the desire to work in a corporate setting. When I started, I thought that I would prefer working for the university in Buckeye Wellness, because I was interested in wellness program planning and working with larger groups of public people. However, I much more preferred working in the corporate office of AccelWELL! I enjoyed the atmosphere more, the coworkers, and the clients. I found that I would much rather work one-on-one with clients as a personal health coach than to plan programs for larger institutions. For me, that was a big realization about how I wanted to go about finding a job when I graduate.
The first aspect of my internship that led me to this change was the duality of being in the AccelWELL office and the Buckeye Wellness office. Being able to experience these two settings side by side was so helpful in leading me towards where I do and don’t want to work when I am ready to start a career. I really do think that internships are so important, not only because you might find yourself in the job that you really want, but also because you find out what you don’t want to do. It’s just as valuable to find that by deciding what you don’t want, you are more clear on what you do want. If I had only seen Buckeye Wellness or only seen Accelwell, I might have come out of this just as confused as I was before. But being able to compare the two settings helped me solidify my decisions moving forward.
The second aspect that led to this transformation was my relationship with Dr. Buffington. She really let me form my own opinions and preferences, and let me see how both sides of her career are similar and different. She was open when I asked questions about how her career affects her life, and she encouraged me to explore both options. Her energy is contagious anywhere she is, and her work at AccelWELL is new and exciting and personal. So she helped me come to my own conclusions, which led to my transformation of being more confident in my future career choices.
The third biggest aspect that led me to my change was the office at Buckeye Wellness. Everyone was so kind and hard-working and team-oriented. They, too, let me come to my own conclusions about public and private settings in the wellness sector. They gave me enough responsibility where I was able to try it out for myself, and see if the kind of work that they do was something I could see myself doing. I also loved engaging with them each day and seeing how passionate they were about their work.
This overall change was so valuable for me for academic, personal, and professional reasons. Academically, it helped me to decide which classes I wanted to take in my last year. I decided to stay in my coaching courses, but not take the program planning ones. That way, I could take more courses that were interesting to me! Personally, I feel so much more confident in what I want. I know what kind of setting I want to work in and I know what kind of job I want to look for. Before this summer, when people asked me what I wanted to do, I felt a lot of anxiety because I really had no idea. I made so many connections in this field, and it is exciting for me to be able to explore those in the future. This internship really shifted my view of the wellness world and my place in it, and I am so grateful that I was able to experience it.