July 21, 2013

Internship a win-win situation

Two weeks ago, this column by Paul Grasso was about the value an internship can have to a college, a business and a student if properly constructed. This week I will share with you my experience.

This summer at The Development Corporation (TDC), I am “The Intern.”

When I met Paul, it was immediately clear that he was serious about making this an experience that would benefit both of us. Many students I know find their experience as an intern to be more an exercise of “putting in time,” either filing documents or making copies, than a learning experience. We wanted to be sure I left TDC with documented work experience in several areas including written composition, promotional campaigns, public speaking and social-media analysis — all great resume builders.

Unbeknownst to me, I would also learn the big difference between classroom theory and workplace practice.

I got my opportunity to interview with TDC because my mother and Paul were co-workers at OneWorkSource. This was the first real lesson I learned, connections are important.

Lesson number one: Always develop a connection with the people you meet, you never know how they can or will affect your future. It’s those connections (and a little luck) that can open the door to your career, but it’s how you perform that will help open other doors.

Lesson number two: No matter how many classes you take concentrating on your major, the theory will always differ from the practice.

I joined the TDC team believing Castleton had prepared me for “the real world.” I had done well learning the required material a Communications student should know, but I soon found out the challenge is quite different in an office where the organization’s goals are much more complex than the broader classroom experience. My time management and organizational skills, which I thought were pretty good, were put to the test against deadlines and prioritizing projects.

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