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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Interning in York

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By: Mikala McBride, staff writer

Instead of taking classes on Wofford’s campus this Interim season, I decided to spend my month interning in my hometown of York, Pa. In case you’ve never heard of York, it is the birthplace of the Articles of Confederation, home of the York Peppermint Pattie and central location of the York Fair, one of the oldest fairs in the country.

I worked everyday in the PA State Representative’s district office, which is located in downtown York City, amidst the 95th district of Pennsylvania. My mission was not to stay at home with my dogs nor eat home-cooked meals every night with my family; rather, I wanted to gain a better understanding of the town in which I grew up.

I spent my entire childhood in this small town, but even when I spent weekends with my friends at the local diner or attended high school sports games, I was never truly exploring my town. I understood the culture, but I never got to understand the local and state government, interact with the downtown community or participate in politics.

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On a basic level, I spent my month filing papers, assisting constituents, and attending community events. But on a much deeper and more fulfilling level, I developed a greater awareness of the demographics of my city. I participated in events and celebrations that I was unaware existed. I interacted with local government officials and attended meetings for the public to share their opinions and experiences. I assisted some of the poorest people in my hometown to file for government assistance. I researched methods of best connecting with constituents.

I was able to spend a month connecting with people I had never met before, despite living in the same town for my entire life. I listened to stories and discovered an entirely new part of the city that I call home, developing an understanding of the problems and joys only York can offer. In particular, I got to better understand the struggles of one of my coworkers, who immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic and who told me her stories of moving to a new country, acclimating to a different culture and struggling to learn English. She has participated in strengthening the Hispanic community in York and allowed me the opportunity to interact with many other immigrants, who told me their own powerful stories and allowed me to learn more about issues I have never understood.

Overall, I would not have traded my time at home for the world. Interning at home is an underrated experience that I would highly recommend for Wofford students who want to interact more with their hometown. There is so much to be gained from developing a better understanding of your city – so if you get the chance, seriously consider getting more involved in your community, interning at a local business or visiting your government officials.

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