Well after 14 weeks, 60 workdays, and 427 hours in the office (super random number, but I kept track) I have successfully completed my full-time internship! And what an amazing experience it’s been! Now that it’s over, I can look back, reflect on the experience as a whole, and really assess how much I’ve learned and grown this semester.
Reading through my daily journal, it’s hard to imagine how slowly the first few weeks went by! I felt incredibly overwhelmed and very determined to prove myself to my superiors. In stark contrast, these past few weeks flew by so quickly. I was much more comfortable with my role in the organization and had become very friendly with my colleagues and supervisors. The transformation from week one to week fourteen was just amazing!
This last week was one of my favorite weeks at my internship. My colleagues threw me a going away barbecue outside and it was so much fun! Everyone showed up and brought food (even the CEO) and we had a great time! I could really tell that they appreciated all the work I had done throughout the semester (look at the awesome going-away present one of them painted for me!) Throughout the time I was there, they had come to really value me as a person and an employee in the organization. In an attempt to keep me at the Fine Arts Center, they even offered me a part-time job at the front desk for the summer because they didn’t want to see me go. After expressing to them that I may need a job that would enable me to make more money this summer, they talked with management and said that if I stay over the summer, it could possibly lead to a full-time job in the fall!
As exciting as it was to be potentially offered a full-time job, I asked if I could take some time to really think about it before making a decision. As much fun as it’s been to be out in Colorado and working at the Fine Arts Center, I’m not quite sure it’s the first career move I want to make post-graduation. But who knows – maybe my next step will be working at the Fine Arts Center until I figure everything out (and actually making money – who’d have thought?!)
Overall, I feel that this experience has really given me the self –confidence I needed to attack the work force with all the determination I have. I learned that even though I didn’t know everything when I started (and still don’t, now that I’m leaving), because I went about my work with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, things mostly worked out in my favor. Everyone in the office (even people I barely spoke to) noticed my positive energy and willingness to work and many said that they would miss my smiling face every day! It took me leaving to realize that even when I didn’t think I was being noticed or recognized, I was always being appreciated – even by the people who didn’t directly work with me.
This experience has really helped me feel prepared to move on from the role of student to an active member of the workforce. I am so thankful to Otterbein for requiring me to participate in an internship – and I’m so proud of myself for going all the way out to Colorado to do it! Throughout these past 14 weeks, I’ve learned so much about myself and even though my internship didn’t exactly line up with what I want to do as a career, I am confident that I have learned skills that will carry over into whatever career I chose to pursue.
So to any future interns reading this, I implore you to not just think about how much an internship pays you, or how close it is to Otterbein or your hometown, but to think about the experience as a whole! Open yourself up to learn as much as you can – about work, but also about yourself! You can only truly grow as a person when you’re outside of your comfort zone.
Thanks to everyone who kept with me on this incredible journey, and thanks to the Center for Career and Professional Development for allowing me to be a guest blogger and give my honest (sometimes too honest) opinion of my internship experience. I can’t wait to return to Otterbein next week for graduation!
As always thanks so much for reading, it’s been a real pleasure!