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Things I Learned While Interning

Written By: Mikaila Clinkscales

Media and Marketing Manager, The Wise College Counsel

After graduating from Clemson University, I got accepted for a non-paid internship with a local, ministry-based company. Ideally, most recent college graduates’ desire is to land an entry-level position at a company in their desired field. Alternatively, I took the most unpopular route, but it was the most rewarding. During that eight-month time, I was able to

utilize my talents, showcase my acquired knowledge from college, and learn more about what all my dream career entails, all while sticking to my own personal beliefs. The best part was being able to touch lives, be in the midst of great local leaders, and meet Pamela Tebow.

As a high school student, you may be feeling a little pressure about what you want to do in life and that’s normal. Not everyone has it all figured out. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t exactly know then and I’m writing before you still a little lost. The best advice I was once told was, “figuring out is the best part about the process.” I was often reminded of that quote during my time interning. So here are a few things that I’ve learned while interning that I believe will help you, no matter what stage in life you’re in.

1. To be more open-minded

This particular company was heavily involved in serving the community. Therefore, I would encounter many walks of life and have to serve them, either with materialistic things or with words of encouragement and endearment. I also had to be open-minded to where this company would lead me. That internship opened my eyes to how others see the world, how they view me and my best assets.

2. To trust my strengths and use my weaknesses as a starting point

This may sound strange, but the very things that I didn’t like doing the most that made me feel insecure or nervous, were the very things that I ended up being the very best at doing. For example, sometimes I had to answer the phones and schedule appointments. I didn’t know who I was talking to on the other line, but I knew what they were looking for and how to help them. Funny thing is, that is exactly what I am doing now at my current job that I have to do as a manager.

3. To establish relationships

You actually do this all the time, but when it comes to the workforce, relationships are always the underlining saving grace. Everyone wants a dependable, honest and trustworthy person on their team. I spoke with doctors, lawyers, congressmen and major community advocators, and the thing I learned most from those conversations is relationship and heart. It goes beyond being a good person and doing the right thing, it’s about how you make someone feel. You never know who you are entertaining at the moment, they could very well be the key to your next open opportunity.

4. The importance of mentors

I was surrounded by supportive women who stood by me as I was learning my way through life, uplifted me, and taught me valuable lessons. The more discussions we had, the more I learned about myself and gained insight to what I want my future to look like. Mentors are great for anyone who’s trying to find their way in life and need someone to support them. I urge everyone to seek out a mentor for themselves.

5. To be selfless rather than selfish

I’ve shared tears of joy and sadness with people, helped others make difficult decisions and made people smile. It was in those small moments when I realized that I always wanted to have that kind impact on people. In retrospect, I could have been selfish by choosing a job I knew I wouldn’t like just because I would be making money over this amazing opportunity to serve others and take time to self-reflect. Everyday I chose to be selfless and it’s elevated my perspective and taken me to where I am today.

I hope that at least one of these inspires you to explore internship opportunities. If you’re needing more guidance, The Wise College Counsel is here to help. We are full of knowledge and experience to help you find your educational fit. To get started, head over to our website to book your free consultation.

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