Am I saving lives yet?

It’s Wednesday, time 23:21. I ‘m sitting in the kitchen, reflecting on the past three days. That’s it so far – only three days at Anthony Nolan*. How is it possible that I feel so different than on a Sunday evening?

Are you thinking of doing an internship in a charity? Let me tell you how you’d feel. At the beginning, you are extremely excited. You plan your project, it seems to be the most groundbreaking thing in the world and you cannot wait to pursue it. Then Sunday comes, and you are supposed to start work on Monday morning. Am I good enough? Will they give me anything to do? Is my project really helpful for the charity? Do I have enough skills to work in a place like that? You’ve never done something like that before, so stress gets you and you may even think that it would be better if you just spent your summer working in a pub close to your home.

I can also tell you how you’d feel after the first few days in the Charity.  You will come back home from work after going for drinks with your coworkers, you’ll see your flatmates and when they ask you: “how’s work?”, you’ll honestly say: “it’s loads of work but it’s amazing, I am so happy to be there!’. The excitement is back, you are full of energy and ideas and you are proud of your decision to apply for the Charity Insights Programme.


*Anthony Nolan is a charity that saves lives of people with blood cancer. It was the world’s first register that matched donors of blood stem cells or bone marrow to people with blood disorders that desperately needed life-saving transplants. Currently, there are more than 600,000 potential donors on the register. The foundation raises awareness, educates and provides information about the register and donation. Furthermore, they conduct world-class research which leads to improved success rates of transplants and better quality of support provided to patients. Their integration of scientific research with raising awareness, finding donors and supporting patients is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of their work in helping people with blood disorders. I am currently working with The Register Development Team, which recruits donors through a number of different channels and is now looking for new ways to expand this and reach their ambitious objective of recruiting 100,000 stem cell donors per year.

My first week is focused on getting to know everyone, learning about different departments, preparing my first report (organizing an “Away Day” for the team), analyzing their recruitment strategies, participations in meetings for the upcoming projects. It is incredible. Highlights? Being the part of a life-saving process, getting all the stationary I could ever only dreamt about,  going for drinks with coworkers after the 2nd day of work, yoga with coworkers after the 3rd day of work and the list of projects and things I got from my coordinator to work on!

PS. They made me a coffee. Am I even an intern?

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