You’ve already read about how I found my current internship at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and since we’re halfway through the semester, I thought I’d offer an update. Here are some projects I have been working on, as well as what I’ve learned on the job.
- I have discovered a new found love for event planning! As someone who has always enjoyed organizing and making lists, it was only natural that I transition into logistical work at the higher education level. At my internship, I have been involved with planning career fairs, conference trips, and guest events. It is neat to be the main point of contact despite just having started there. I am enjoying the happy medium between having such responsibilities and also feeling comfortable enough to ask questions if necessary.
- Listen then respond. It is important to take the time to listen and then proceed with questions after critical thinking. I have had the opportunity to sit in on several staff meetings, and am developing opinions on best practices after listening to my supervisors voice concerns and strategies. For instance, while attending a meeting focused around revamping and cleaning out one of our databases, I took copious notes on how the coordinator of the cleanup initiative presented the steps that needed to be taken. Following the presentation, I was happy to see the balance of power in the time left for questions. Everyone was treated as an equal, and that made me more comfortable to share my opinions.
- You can do more, you can always do more! Some days will be faster-paced than others, and some will be slower. I am an office-wide intern, so my duties vary depending on which projects need my attention. I have learned to prioritize. It is also important to take initiative when I have finished certain tasks– there is always more that can be done and room for improvement. So, if you’re having a particularly slow day on the job, don’t be afraid to ask about what else you can help with! When I helped with the career fair, I had my duties specifically laid out for me, hour by hour. But in the days following, I made sure to check in with my supervisors quite frequently to see what I could assist with, and there was always something to be done.
- Confidentiality is key. In the internship journal that is required of me, I write about some specific experiences and sometimes ask my professor for advice, but keeping students’ names and more personal data inside the office is crucial to building trust and rapport with my coworkers and the students who I work with. I have run into situations where I know some of the students who come in for meetings personally, and I am learning about making ethical decisions that coincide with the values I hold as well as the institution’s.
- Relate what you learn in class. For instance, in my career counseling course, we are learning about personality types and work environments, and have determined what qualities we seek out in a professional space. Since that is in the back of my mind, I use that lens when I’m working to categorize my work environment, as well as the different styles of the coordinators around me. It is really fascinating to analyze the diverse perspectives that are brought to the table!
I hope you have found this list interesting and informative. As always, if you have any feedback or comments, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meliora!