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  • Linda Benesch 10:56 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink  

    Ending and Beginnings 

    My final day interning at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism was last Friday, but I was lucky enough to be able to attend the RAC’s biannual conference, the Consultation on Conscience, which took place May 1st- May 3rd. Since my internship was technically over and extra help wasn’t needed in staffing the conference itself (although I was involved in a lot of aspects of the pre-conference planning), I was able to just sit back and enjoy the speakers. It was certainty a great lineup, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Carl Levin, several other members of Congress, the president of Planned Parenthood, and of course many leaders of the Reform Jewish movement. The conference was a great way to say goodbye to an amazing organization I’m really going to miss interning for. Of course, I do plan to come back and visit if possible, but I just got some great news which means I will be in Boston for a large chunk of the summer!

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  • Linda Benesch 3:41 am on April 25, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , evaluation, , reward   

    Winding down, but not done yet! 

    While my internship at the Religious Action Center is winding down, it’s not quite over yet. Since my last final is next Thursday, I’m taking Wednesday off next week but coming into the office for one last day on Friday. That’s not all, though. From May 1st-3rd the RAC is holding is big biannual conference, the Consultation on Conscience , and I’ve been invited to attend for free (and possibly help out.) Lots of big names will be speaking at the conference, most notably Al Gore but also several members of Congress and the President of the NAACP. My rabbi is going to be there along with a whole bunch of other rabbis and Reform Jewish leaders. I am very excited to attend!

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    • miranda78 7:02 pm on April 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It is great you are still maintaining a positive attitude. Have a great last week at work!

  • Linda Benesch 6:14 am on April 19, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dilemma, , paid,   

    Unpaid vs. Paid Internships 

    I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of the semester! My internship at the Religious Action Center is continuing to go well, and on Wednesday my boss is going to go over my internship evaluation (required as part of the class I am taking to get credit for my internship)  so later in the week I expect to have an interesting blog post reflecting on that.

    Meanwhile, I am very occupied by my continuing search for a summer internship. It is proving quite frustrating, and I think a big part of the reason is that I am mostly applying for paid internships. Those are not easy to come by, especially in the summer when so many students come to DC to intern. I just got a rejection from one place that said over 400 people had applied for one internship slot! I am trying to send out a lot of applications since I know I am competing with so many other internship seekers, but I can’t send 400. I’m not sure if it’s unreasonable or unrealistic for me to have expected one at all. After all, my current internship is unpaid and that doesn’t bother me, but I am interning 2 days a week and getting course credit whereas over the summer I hope to be interning full time and don’t plan on getting credits.

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    • miranda78 1:12 pm on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My internship last semester was paid, and it really did help my financial standing as a student. However, I do agree with you that was easier for me to get that paid internship during the fall than if I was here for the summer. For the most part, I do not think paid v. unpaid internships will change the level of work or demand of the internship because it takes a lot of time for them to review all of the applications (sometimes 400!) and they really do want and usually need the help, as you can probably see at your current internship. I would advise you to be practical, since you are going to be here next semester in the fall, and try to get a really good internship, that is possibly paid in the fall by working on perfecting your application and cover letters this summer. If worst comes to worst, I would find an organization to volunteer at when you are home this summer since they are always welcoming newcomers and it will ensure that gap on your resume is not as large. Hope that helps!

  • Linda Benesch 2:56 am on April 7, 2011 Permalink  


    Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m walking on a wire. Everything in my life requires a fine balencing act, particularly with regards to my internship, where I’ve been dealing with three different kinds of balancing.

    The first type is balancing my internship and my other commitments, especially school. That conflict came to a head this week because my organization, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is playing a major role in Thursday’s “Stand up for Women’s Health” Advocacy Day (to protest the proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood funding and anti-abortion legislation.) The whole office has been buzzing about it for a while, especially today, and I really wanted to go. The problem is that I have three classes on Thursday, and a test in the first one. I contemplated taking the test, then skipping my other two classes and going to the rest of the advocacy day, but in the end I decided that in this balancing act my schoolwork had to come first. I did not want to risk subconsciously rushing the test or face the consequences of missing two classes this close to finals.

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    • miranda78 5:25 pm on April 11, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      There is great reflection on your part and good insight for future or your fellow interns in this post. Keep tip- toeing til the end of the semester and I am sure you will do great!

  • Linda Benesch 3:24 am on March 30, 2011 Permalink  

    A unique application 

    As the title of my post indicates, I can’t believe that there’s only a month left in the semester! Fortunately it’s not time for that final reflection post for a few weeks, but I already know I will miss my internship. Like a lot of the other bloggers, I have been spending a lot of time seeking internships and other opportunities for the summer, which is proving to be a pretty stressful process (more so than in the fall or spring since the competition is so fierce) but in the long run I know it will be greatly to my benefit that by the time I graduate college and start my career, I will have already have extensive experience with filling out job applications and writing cover letters. Just another benefit of interning!

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    • miranda78 1:29 pm on March 30, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I TOOK THAT PICTURE! Way to take a risk; it was a really great costume!

  • Linda Benesch 10:21 pm on March 19, 2011 Permalink  

    Mid-Semester Reflections 

    This post is kind of a long time coming, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged here in almost a month! I’ve been pretty busy for the last few weeks between midterms and summer internship applications. My internship at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is continuing to go well. Among other things, I am working on updating the RAC’s packet on domestic worker rights. Rather than a play-by-play of the specific things I’ve done at my internship, I decided to use this blog post to reflect on my internship so far and how it has impacted me.

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    • miranda78 6:23 pm on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wow that’s great you realized you may want to pick up Communications. Even if you do not have enough time to do a minor, it may still be a good idea to take some COMM courses so that you have the skills regardless. I think you are using the blog as a great way to reflect on your growth throughout your internship.

  • Linda Benesch 12:57 am on February 21, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , lectures,   

    Food, Lectures, and Nametags 

    Like most weeks, interning this week involved a wide variety of different things. I started out my day on Wednesday by making about 30 calls to different congressional offices to oppose amendment number 262 of the continuing resolution. (The continuing resolution is the bill that will keep the government funded; the House recently passed it but it will probably not get through the Senate.) If implemented, the amendment would eliminate all foreign aid that goes towards family planning. Even though I interned in my congressman’s district office last summer, it was a little intimidating being on the other end, especially since some of staffers were annoyed that I wasn’t from their district (the Religious Action Center represents 1.5 million Reform Jews across North America.) That said, most of the congressional staffers were very polite, and it was interesting to think about how they were probably interns, too.
    (keep on reading to hear about the rest of my week, including pictures of the multiple forms of free food I got on Friday!)
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    • miranda78 8:08 pm on February 21, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Firs thought: yummy fooood! That is great you had an enjoyable but productive week. Now you know to continue to keep your ears open and you will probably have even more exciting opportunities ahead, whether it be at your current internship or at another position in the future.

  • Linda Benesch 10:40 pm on February 12, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: goal, , , , self starter   

    Becoming Proactive 

    Besides being a skin care product, proactivity is a personality trait that employers strongly value. In a lot of internship qualification lists, organizations request a “proactive individual” or a “self-starter.” Essentially, they want someone who does things on their own with minimal supervision. Some people are naturally proactive, but I have noticed that I have generally tended to be the kind of person who prefers to be given a specific, fairly well defined task to complete. Therefore, one of my goals for this internship and this semester overall is to become a more proactive person.
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    • miranda78 6:50 pm on February 14, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yay for pro-activity. I think it is great that you are identifying and working to achieve concrete goals. This is definitely a great way to get more out of your interest. In the end I think that besides taking away a great, polished skill set, you will also have achieved personal growth that will transcend into other areas of your life!

    • Francine Blume 8:14 pm on February 14, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Being proactive really is a learned habit and good for you to focus on that! Can’t wait to hear more about it!

    • Emily Fleitz 9:30 pm on February 14, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Signing up to be an intern blogger is a very proactive thing to do! I would guess that you’re on the right track… I have no real advice for you though.

      I don’t work for the career center so this all new to me, too. And any day at my internship when I get food is a good day! 🙂

  • Linda Benesch 8:52 pm on February 6, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: administrative, , contract, ,   

    Two Very Different Days 

    I intern at the Religious Action Center (RAC) for two full days a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. This week, the contrast between those two days perfectly encapsulated the two different parts of my (and I suspect most) internship. Wednesday was an exciting day, during which I got to do research, write two blog posts, and attend a meeting, whereas Friday was much more low key and mainly involved stuffing envelopes, but I see the importance of each type of work and enjoyed both days. This week I also wrote out a “contract” with my employers for my internship class, which I will include at the end of this post.

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    • miranda78 2:47 pm on February 7, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That is great you have a contract so that there is a clear structure to your internship. I know how you feel about the contrast btw. your two days interning.. last semester I would be mailing 500 publications one week, and then the next week I had to edit speaker biographies in a short amount of time. It is definitely the uncertainty of being an intern!

  • Linda Benesch 4:32 am on January 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Judaism,   

    Interning at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism 

    Hi, I’m Linda. I’m a second semester sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, majoring in political science. This semester is a time of adjustment for me, because not only am I acclimating back into AU after spending a semester abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but I am also interning two full days a week at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC.) Although you might not think it from the title of the organization, the RAC’s main goal is to advance the Reform movement’s goal of social justice by lobbying the government, working with other organizations, and hosting 6 seminars a year teaching high school students about the political process and how to lobby their members of Congress. Fun fact from my intern manuel: Much of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was drafted in the offices of the Religious Action Center! (More …)

    • jessems42 6:12 am on January 30, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That sounds very cool. Your project could be to write a new and updated civil rights act that has universal healthcare for all, no mandatory minimums and federally enforced equal pay. Get it passed through congress by the end of the semester. No pressure or anything.

    • miranda78 6:48 pm on January 31, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Linda! Your internship sounds great! I am glad you are finally interning there because I remember you talking about RAC last year! Also, I think I can agree about your past internship experience, because I think I know where it was, and I had a similar experience when I compared my internship on the Hill/ in my senator’s office and the one I held last semester at a non-profit. It is a much more gratifying experience when you get feedback, and that is great they are really good about that at your current internship. Also, it is really neat that some of the Civil Rights Act was drafted at RAC! Cannot wait to hear more about your internship!

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