by Karen Lynch, Spirit & Place intern
Being an intern for the Spirit & Place Festival has been an adventure. I have learned about academia, nonprofits, my community, and myself. I first began working with Spirit & Place in the fall of 2016, helping to prepare for the upcoming Home festival; at the time I was an event management major. I was so excited to learn more about the industry of event planning and I was ecstatic to work with an organization who’s so focused on community. Throughout the next year and a half, I would learn the basics of the industry and have plenty of opportunities to network; but the greatest impact this internship has had on my life is that it taught me about my community, its assets and issues, and how to get involved.
I grew up in a town about 45 minutes west of Indianapolis, it is smaller and more rural than Indy and I grew up in a “bubble.” My parents are conservative, white Christians, and I love and respect them more than I can express, but I grew up not knowing the reality of what everyday life looks like to the average person living as a minority or living in poverty. As an intern at Spirit & Place I was able to meet a lot of people and groups whose sole purpose was to serve the underserved, and build platforms for them to improve their lives. Being exposed to these new ideas and people changed my opinion about my community and I realized a passion that I never knew existed; I want to help vulnerable people. There’s a lot of ways to do this, but for me the obvious choice was healthcare. So I took some difficult courses and spent some very late nights studying and applied not once, but twice to nursing school and was finally accepted.
Nursing is a wonderful and difficult profession, and I hope to make a difference in someone’s life in their most vulnerable moments. As a nurse I will take on many roles: caretaker, communicator, sympathizer, and most importantly, I will be an advocate for my patients when they can’t advocate for themselves. My internship at Spirit & Place has given me the foundation I need to succeed in many of these areas, and the rest I will learn along the way, in nursing school and in my career.