Through this blog, we will spotlight Otterbein students who are engaging in internships and professional experiences in a variety of industries and geographic locations. We will also share tips and advice on searching for internships and making the most of internship experiences.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cordray in Colorado, Part Six: The End

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!

Dillon Cordray

Music and Business ’15

Monday, April 20, 2015

Adam Piccin '16 - Bricker & Eckler LLP

Adam Piccin
Class Year: 2016
Major: Public Relations, Health Communications
Hometown: Lewis Center, Ohio
Internship: Bricker & Eckler LLP
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Internship Responsibilities: I was a Public Relations and Marketing Intern at Bricker & Eckler LLP for eight months starting in the spring of 2014.  Bricker & Eckler is one of Ohio’s leading law firms and has more than 140 attorneys in four offices located in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati-Dayton and Marietta.  As an intern in the Practice Development Department, I executed PR and marketing strategies for the law firm, which included writing blogs, press releases, business letters, articles and internal communication copy. I performed extensive research, created marketing lists and regularly updated Bricker’s website.

What I Learned: I have gained experience in HTML coding, copyediting, fixing broken links, utilizing mass email marketing services, marketing database management and more. My favorite part of the internship was my supervisors treating me like an invaluable member of the team and trusted me with responsibilities that did not consist of typical administrative work. The assignments given to me from the other eight members of the department made for incredible learning experiences as well as portfolio samples. In addition, I found it very cool that I was featured on the company’s Intranet floor plan and that I had my own phone number.

I learned to take chances and try new things because you never know what you like until you try it. I am grateful for the incredible internship I had at Bricker & Eckler and would recommend the firm’s internship program without reservation to other students studying public relations, marketing or communications.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jessica Moore '16, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, DEAMS Program

Jessica Moore
Class Year: 2016
Major: Sociology with concentrations in Criminology, Family & Fraud
Hometown: New Carlisle, Ohio
Internship: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, DEAMS Program
Location: Fairborn, Ohio

Internship Responsibilities: This summer I had the pleasure of working as a summer intern for the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the Defense Enterprise and Account Managing Systems (DEAMS) program. I joined the Junior Force Council where I was in charge of recruiting volunteers and ensuring everything ran smoothly for our big event, the Symposium, at the end of the summer.  This annual event is where high ranking individuals come and speak about the event theme, which for this year was Career and Connections. I was in also charge of making welcome packets, keeping supplies stocked and coordinating several fundraisers.

What I Learned: Here I learned about the financial aspects of business and how people with various backgrounds and skills can work together as a cohesive whole to accomplish anything. Through this opportunity, I learned more than I ever thought I would.
I was very lucky in that I was placed in an office where I could learn and have fun doing it. Overall I had a fantastic experience and I would love to work there again in the future.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cordray in Colorado, Part 6: Finding Motivation

Three weeks left of my internship and I honestly can't believe it's almost over! It has been a pretty amazing 11 weeks here in Colorado Springs, but it has also been an incredibly long 11 weeks. At this point, I am absolutely ready to come home, graduate, and move on from the life of an unpaid intern! That being said, as I enter the home stretch, I can't help but feel a little unmotivated at times. This past week, I had a moment where I realized that although it is almost done, I still have almost a month of work left before I can hang up the towel on this internship. So the question is, how do I find the motivation I need to finish strong?

Here are a few things that will hopefully help me (and anyone else doing a semester-long internship) stay motivated:

1. Remember what it was like during week one. Week one of my internship was the time where I was bound and determined to prove myself. I accomplished all the tasks my supervisors set before me quickly and efficiently and talked with them in a very professional manner. Since then, things have changed dramatically. I've become comfortable in my work environment and don't constantly feel the need to prove myself. My superiors know that I am a hard worker and we've become friends - often talking to each other in a friendly and joking manner. Although this is inevitable, it also can lead to me being a bit lazy. In order to continue strong, I need to remember how I worked the first few weeks when I was still trying to prove myself and remember the motivation I had then!

2. Ask yourself how you want your co-workers and supervisors to remember you. This past week, after having a good laugh with my supervisor, I thought to myself "when this is over, do you want to be remembered as the good-natured, fun intern who made your supervisor laugh occasionally? Or do you want to be remembered as the intern who got stuff done quickly and tackled projects head-on while also maintaining a fun, positive attitude?" Sure, I will most-likely get a great recommendation out of the internship regardless of how I work these last few weeks, but I would rather the good recommendation be due to my consistent work ethic rather than my social skills.

3. Make weekly goals. This has helped me from the beginning of my internship, but it's important not to forget. When a task or project is assigned to me, it's important not to just let it sit by the wayside until I feel like doing it. Some projects I get done quickly because I like them, and others I avoid because they aren't fun (normally involving spreadsheets) - but if I set a goal to finish it by a certain date, then I feel more pressure to get it done! The best feeling on a Friday afternoon is to look at a weekly to-do list and see that everything on it is crossed off - even the boring tasks!

This blog post topic reminded me of a tip I read at the beginning of my internship. It said something along the lines of "pace yourself throughout - don't jump in too eagerly in the beginning only to be burnt out by the end." At the time, I was bound and determined to jump in eagerly and prove myself, but after eleven weeks, I do feel pretty burnt out! Following these tips and realizing that the internship is quickly coming to an end will hopefully enable me to finish strong and continue to prove to my superiors that I am a willing and hard-working individual.

As always, thanks for reading! Until next time!

Dillon Cordray
Music and Business '11