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“Do what you are afraid of.”

These are the words of Caryl Auslander, VP of Education and Workforce Development Policy at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. When she said this, she didn’t know I accepted this internship at Indiana INTERNnet for that very reason.

Prior to joining this team to help increase talent retention, I was a student plagued by writer’s block, and I had very little social media experience. I decided I wanted to face this head-on.

I was that guy, probably like your parents, who used Facebook just to see who wished me a happy birthday once a year. As far as I was concerned, hashtags were never the character displayed in front of a word to loop a post into a larger conversation. It was always just the number/pound sign to me.

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“This kind of growth could not be found in fear. It was achieved by embracing the uncomfortable.”

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I am only slightly embarrassed to admit this because of how far I have come in such a short amount of time. I knew that everything I wanted to accomplish was on the other side of fear. So I embraced every new challenge thrown my way. Oh, am I glad I did!

This internship experience has become more than just writing blogs and learning the ins and outs of gaining new followers and friends. I learned more about myself and gained a new network of people who will support me in my future endeavors.

I can honestly say that I have explored every interest I sought out to learn in my time here: learning best practices of interviewing like a journalist, exploring how political agendas and businesses work together to create a better workforce, learning the inner-workings of a non-profit, and being the center of a social media game, #spotjordan. Not to mention the amazing professionals I have had the chance to meet through interviews, summer engagement events, lunches and board meetings has allowed me to feel more of a connection to Indiana, my home.

This type of learning could not be found in a textbook. This kind of growth could not be found in fear. It was achieved by embracing the uncomfortable.

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