Lessons from Summer Internship: Worry Less and Dream More

Many of our student workers were able to spend this summer participating in various internships outside of the Hunt Institute. Students often return from these experiences with a fantastic arsenal of newly acquired skills, ideas, and perspectives. This summer, the undergraduate marketer in the Institute, John Morgan, spent six weeks working as a program specialist at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center just south of Palestine, Texas. John graciously shared the following about his experience:

Take a moment and think back to your youth. Think about times when you were running around your backyard pretending you were anywhere else. Think about walking down the aisle in the grocery store begging your parents for a toy or a snack. Think about how upset you were when a sibling or friend had something you didn’t, and that thing seemed like the most important thing in the world.

These instances, along with many others from our childhood, can seem cringeworthy or laughable in retrospect, but I think it’s important to remember the mindset with which we would approach life as children. That innocent, worry-free worldview often escapes us as we mature and are confronted with reality. However, every now and then, it may make sense for us to embrace the youthful spirit of having a goal in mind without focusing on the complications in accomplishing it.

This summer, my daily routine for six weeks consisted of facilitating games, setting up activities, and entertaining armies of third through fifth grade kids. This can certainly be a daunting task, but the relationships that my coworkers and I formed with these kids were ultimately what kept us sane. While it isn’t fun to constantly remind elementary campers not to wander into a live archery range or swim too far in the lake, it was easy to fall in love with the genuine excitement and enthusiasm with which they approached every moment. It’s fair to say that I learned as much from them as they learned from me.

One memorable moment from my experience surprisingly came from a response on one of the camper surveys at the end of the week. Despite the various misspelled words –“dogball” instead of “dodgeball,” for example– and no shortage of blunt feedback from these kids, many of the most meaningful responses came from the question, “What did you learn about yourself this week?” It was here where a kid, one who I had seen blossom from a state of homesickness on the first day to pure joy by the end of the week, answered that he learned that he needed to worry less and dream more. Reading this and knowing what this camper had gone through in those five days, I couldn’t help but shed some tears.

After forty days in the middle of East Texas, I have returned to reality with the strong notion that it might be beneficial for us to take that third grader’s advice: worry less in our pursuits in order to dream more.

Here at the Hunt Institute, we strive to serve as a hub to develop future-focused solutions to worldly challenges. As the undergraduate marketer, I have the privilege of witnessing and showcasing the Institute’s impactful projects and initiatives. We bear a responsibility to help improve the world around us, and therefore we must continue to think big, allowing ourselves to dream instead of listing the barriers in front of us. In the fulfillment of our aspirations, let’s choose to worry less and dream more.

To read more about the Hunt Institute’s work to develop future-focused solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, please click here. For the latest news on the Hunt Institute, follow our social media accounts on LinkedInFacebookand Instagram. We invite you to listen to our Podcast called Sages & Seekers. If you are considering engaging with the institute, you can donate, or sign-up for our newsletter by emailing huntinstitute@smu.edu.

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