An open letter to SELF

October 4, 2022

Dear SELF,

As you read this, it’s probably been a while since I left but my learnings during my internship are never forgotten. When I first joined, I was an eager young intern with little experience working with beneficiaries. And looking at me now, I’m still the same eager intern with more skills and experiences up my sleeves. 

First, I’d like to say thank you for all the experiences, skills and friendships I formed at SELF. If I could describe my experience  in one word, it would be pioneering. I truly hope that the research and work that I’ve done here has formed the foundational ideas and material for a working employment programme that SELF could offer in the future. Some of my best takeaways are; Qualitative Data Research, User Persona Creation, Interview and Interpersonal Skills, Branding and Design Consistency and even Scriptwriting. And these are skills that I still practise to this day. 

At SELF, I was able to be a part of helming the Intervention Model and video script for our team’s submission to the =Dreams Poverty Challenge. I had to ideate a possible solution that was based on our employment research, and spent a large amount of time figuring out the details for our proposal to the judges.

"Even though we didn’t manage to enter the final round, I’m still so proud of all the work that we all did."

The culture at SELF is open and accepting; values that I believe make SELF different from the rest. These values make it easy to freely share our experiences and areas of improvement in terms of workflow, and  make discussions more idea-friendly! But I think the best part of working with SELF is seeing how team members from different backgrounds come together to work on solutions for the organization. 

And of course, every high has its lows. I, too, struggled a fair bit during my internship. Personally it was to first craft and consolidate key data from our employment-based interviews. As my role was focused on creating necessary workflows and organizations for our employment research, I was initially unsure on how the data could be categorized and organized for future use, but was able to understand more from additional research on qualitative data organization, as well as seeking feedback from my fellow SELF members.

So to future interns or volunteers at SELF, I’d suggest entering the role with an open mind, and take extra time to orientate yourself in the first 1-2 weeks of the internship. Always remember that the goal of our work is to solve existing problems for our beneficiaries, where research plays a key role prior to crafting solutions. 

SELF, you’ve been great to me and to all the beneficiaries you serve. Thank you for the eye-opening internship. 

Ex-intern Justin

Hands clasped together

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