It’s been a month since I wrapped up my summer internship. A month of getting back into the routine of school, figuring out my new on-campus job schedules, and reconnecting with friends. I learned more in three months than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I get the chance to work in the healthcare and tech industry both are fast paced, but I had opportunities to gain friends, references, skills, and so much more.
In two of my previous blog posts What I Learned in My First Week at My Internship & How I’m Prepping for My Summer Internship, I discussed the obvious, what I learned in my first week and how I was prepping. Now I want to discuss what overarching skills I learned that I will be able to market to future companies, skills I can incorporate in my classes and so on…
How to speak up more in classes.
Whether that be to the girl sitting next to me in class or in a discussion. Typically I’m not the girl who speaks up during discussions, but I’m working on that. After having experience sitting in on team meetings every week, all summer, I saw the value in speaking up when the time came because it was soon gone. Right now, I’m working on creating connections with students in classes though. I’m taking baby steps!
Taking what I’m learning more seriously.
Let’s be honest, unless you’ve had experience in the field, do you reallllly understand what your end game is in college? It wasn’t until went into the industry as an intern that I could finally visualize what I wanted. You can take as many marketing classes or technology classes as you want, but until you can see a real-life problem sitting in front of you, it’s much harder to picture your life after college (at least it was for me). Don’t get me wrong, I study and take my academics seriously, but now that I have a clearer picture of the world I’ll be entering soon, I feel better prepared to tackle more obstacles.
Ah, networking. So scary. I have yet to master this skill yet, but I’m banking on mastering it soon. I basically need to haha. My internship provided us numerous opportunities to network with people within the company who are in our field and with managers outside our field. It allowed me to see other sides of the tech industry even within the company I worked for.
I always have a lot of questions. I want to make sure what I’m doing is 100% what I should be doing, However, I scaled them back this summer! Unless they were time sensitive, I saved them for meetings with my manager or sent him a quick IM. Since then, it’s helped me eliminate a lot of my questions as I want to make sure I’m not bombarding people with unnecessary questions until I absolutely need to. Definitely a great life skill!
Confidence (and story time)
As a senior who had applied for a ton of internships received interviews and somehow could not get past first round interviews I had pretty much lost all confidence in myself. In fact, when I went to interview for my internship, I interviewed for four teams in their HQ. I was nervous as all my interviews had been done on campus, via phone, or Skype. I get to the security desk where I’m supposed to check in and I forgot my ID. Now, my dad drove me to my interview (because he’s super awesome and I was extremely nervous) and I’m like, great. Now I have to go tell him I’m an idiot. The woman at the security desk was so mad at me and almost didn’t let me into my interviews (Remember, four managers I was about to leave a lovely lasting impression on). Thankfully, she got it cleared and I was only slightly mortified. I did my interviews and was feeling great until the last manager told me he was surprised I was still there because the security desk woman emailed every manager I was interviewing with that I may not be interviewed because I had forgotten my ID. So, slightly mortified, turned into full-on mortified. Mind you, during my interviews I wasn’t too confident in my answers to interview questions. So all-in-all, this was easily the most disastrous interview session I had ever had. So my confidence sunk even lower. UNTIL I got TWO offers. I remember sitting in my room in shock that I even had one. Talk about a needed confidence boost!
Moral of the story, don’t forget your ID and believe in yourself.
I was able to take this skill into the rest of my summer. I was the only female on my team so that alone was a bit intimidating, but I’ve never felt more welcomed by a group of people. My opinions and project were valued and they all made sure I had what I needed to be successful. Talk about a 180 from my interview experience.
My point about all of this? Nothing is as it seems. If I had based my opinion on the company from my interview, I wouldn’t have had this great opportunity. If I hadn’t been blessed with this opportunity I may still be in limbo about my future career path or be asking someone a dizzying amount of questions that could wait.
All in all, if you have the opportunity, get yourself an internship. Ideally paid, because you’re worth that at least. But find one where you can explore your passion, creativity, and career. It’s worth it to invest in yourself.
And Pro Tip, many companies are hiring now, so get on the search for next summer!