By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15
DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.
Brandon Jordan, a DePaul sociology major, calls his experience as a drop-in intern at the Howard Brown – Broadway Youth Center (BYC) one of the best experiences. The BYC provides support to at-risk LGBTQ youth in Chicago, something Brandon has always been particularly passionate about. He applied to the position after seeing an advertisement at a local hospital and soon found himself assisting homeless LGBTQ youth, organizing clothing donations, and administering hygiene kits for those in need.
“It’s always different,” Brandon said about his internship, “you have to stay on your toes because things change daily and there are always new youth.”
Brandon’s internship experience allowed him to learn about various nonprofit resources throughout the city and how to conduct oneself in a professional environment. However, Brandon believes “what made this internship special is that it’s family first and business second.” The family environment at BYC helps the youth feel comfortable with the organization:
“Some of the youth that we work with are homeless, and some have homes, but need a place to visit to just take a break. And being able to see them come in and relax, smile, and dance makes it all worthwhile,” Brandon said.
Brandon also learned the value of trust and camaraderie during his time at the internship:
“When I first started my internship, I was not the type to love hugs; I would normally just high-five or shake hands,” Brandon said, “but working in this environment has made me understand that sometimes people could use a hug because we don’t know what their day was like before they walked through those doors, so hugging people is something that I’ve become accustomed to.”
The biggest impact this experience has left on Brandon is not learning what he can do to be happy and successful, but how he can help another person be happy and successful.
“This internship has really helped me expand on what it means to be diverse,” Brandon said. “DePaul has given me the opportunity to really grasp diversity…And walking into my internship I was able to put that skill to use and further develop it.”
Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.