Countdown continues, my summer in Midland is already half over, meaning 5 weeks to go. Although I have only had 6 weeks of having an internship within the corporate field I feel I’ve picked up a few good tid bits of advice I can share:
- Know what time zone people are on: making an international call doesn’t seem dauting, schedule them is the hardest part. Sitting, waiting for someone to join a conference call can get annoying. When scheduling meetings, I’ve learned to put “Eastern Central” at the end of the time so people know I’m referring to my time zone.
- Write draft emails: When initially starting something, like projects, many emails will be sent to make initial contact with people. After sending a few similar emails I just made a draft and was able to fire off emails in a more efficient manner
- Network! I know I got this emphasis from Nancy Lahmers, the Honors Cohort director, but you don’t realize the importance of networking till you know exactly who to turn to when you’re in need on the job.
- Follow up and thank people: if someone goes out of their way to do something that helps you or if they will be a good contact in the future, then take the 3 minutes to write a quick thank you email for their time and help. If 3 minutes is too much, follow #2 and write a draft thank you that you can send! You never know who can help you in the future or who knows other people.
- Attend all events possible: If you are in a good internship program or rotational, the company may put on events to help you meet each other, get acclimated with the area and company, and network with leaders. Dow has done a great job of this! We’ve had a variety of events – picnic in the park, baseball game, scavenger hunt, and this week we’re being flown to Freeport, Texas to see the biggest plant. The events have exposed me to all sides of Dow – corporate, values, respect from people, and so much more. So whenever you get the chance to do something with your company, do it!
- Connect with fellow interns: Like I said, we have had quite a few intern events put on for us by Dow, that’s a great way to meet the other interns but to really get to know them go do things together – get lunch, ice cream; play sand volleyball (it’s been a big hit here doing interns against new hires); go see a movie; take a weekend trip somewhere, for instance I’m going to Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan with a group of people this coming weekend! My fellow interns are people I’ve been able to learn from, have fun with (joke with because we’re all from Big 10 schools), and know I’ll stay in contact with no matter where everyone ends up!
- Have fun. When interning, you are trying out the company and the job. If you have to convince yourself that you’re having fun or that you can work somewhere, then is it really worth it? This is one I’ve learned by talking with the leaders in my department and in the company. I’ve been asked if I am enjoying my time here, and I’ve been able to honestly tell people that I have. A lot of that is because of the people, something Dow is good at: finding friendly, helpful and open people. One of Dow’s mottos from the time it was founded is, If you can’t do something better, why do it? I’m going to alter that a litle and say, If you can’t find joy and have fun in doing something, why do it? (Now don’t take it to an extreme, there’s work to be done, but for me being happy is what life is for).
How did I learn most of this?…
I messed up – or did things in a less efficient way and learned from it. So biggest piece of advice: learn from your “mistakes” and don’t beat yourself up over them. I’ve talked to people, asked them for advice, they’re experienced professionals for a reason right? And by just going with the flow and reflecting on things that have happened.
Tomorrow a group of interns, including myself, are headed to hot Freeport, Texas to see Dow’s biggest plant there. Last week we saw Michigan Operations, the plant here in Midland. Seeing where the chemicals are produced that I’ve been doing projects for has been pretty cool. I’m sure there will be stories to share for both trips!