By Natalie Krieg, REACH Intern
This past summer has taught me a lot about confidence and self-reflection. Entering into my role as an intern with REACH, I was worried I wasn’t qualified for the position. I mean, how can I, a college student, who still gets nervous to call a pizza place, support someone through something as difficult and personal as domestic violence? In all honesty, I didn’t think I was capable of it. What I learned is that my fears of not being qualified enough and my concerns about being nervous and not ready were totally normal and ok. It is a scary and daunting task to feel a sense of responsibility in another person’s life, even if that responsibility is simply to be a listening ear. I found my ability to feel confident in my work through connecting with my colleagues and reaching out to my supervisor when I felt uncertain. It was a big step for me to feel 100% ok asking for help, but my colleagues and the community of wonderful people at REACH made me realize that it is ok, not just to ask for help, but also to admit that you need a little more practice and time. We all come from different places, backgrounds, and experiences and it colors our ability to do this work in different ways.
Sometimes it may feel like you aren’t ready or prepared while everyone else around you seems like they have it all together, and that is totally ok! Coming out of training, REACH really has provided me with the best tools to do the work, take my time, ask for what I need, and let the people around me provide support.
If you’re considering volunteering with REACH, my biggest advice for you, and I know it sounds really cheesy, is to believe in yourself. Know that REACH would never put you in a position where you could fail and that you, simply by being there as a listener, are already doing so much good.
As the summer comes to a close, I have realized that I am capable of not only doing the work required of me as an Online Chat intern but of working towards my goals even when it scares me. I came into this internship knowing it was something I wanted to do but terrified that I wouldn’t be able to support people or do the work the “right” way. What I learned is that there is no “right” way. If you are supportive, caring, and active at listening to the survivor’s needs and wants, then you are already doing the best you can.
The support you feel from the people at REACH is amazing. I have learned a lot about the importance of a supportive community and how believing in yourself and taking the plunge into something slightly out of your comfort zone can be so worthwhile. If you’re coming into this work feeling unsure, ask for help when you need it. You don’t need to be a savior or a warrior who can do it all on your own. There is a wonderful team of people who are there to support you whenever you need it, and it’s your job to listen and support, not to fix things.
I hope that by writing this I can provide even a small amount of confidence to you. I was nervous going in, I was unsure, I thought I wasn’t capable enough, I didn’t believe I was qualified enough. But I was, I am, and I know that if you are reading this, you are too.