So the internship went horribly. What a lousy waste of time, can’t believe I ever signed up for that awful experience. I learned nothing, didn’t experience any real corporate culture, and came out so much worse for wear than I came in. If I were trying to tell you the exact opposite of my experience, those would be my words to describe my summer internship 🙂
Fidelity was a great company to work for, and the tech program gave great insight into what being a tech professional is like. My internship wasn’t the coding type of tech- to be honest, the best way I could describe it is that the tech field is exactly like the business field, you need the same skills to deal with people and solve problems. The only difference is that the subject matter and critical items you are dealing with are a lot different. So even if I wasn’t always completely comfortable in a back office role, this internship gave me great exposure to what a systems analyst role is like, and that was extremely interesting because I still felt like I learned so many general skills that can be applicable in more than just a tech role.
If I were to give one crucial piece of advice that became radiantly clear over the internship, and what I feel can bring you farthest in your career, it is this- ask questions. Don’t just ask if you can go to the bathroom (you usually can), or if you can take a break for lunch (decide that one yourself) but any time a question that might influence how your final deliverable will come out, that question needs to be verbalized so that it becomes actionable. My partner almost never asked questions, he always let our boss do the talking when they had their weekly meetings. This inability to clear up important issues is why his final document came out with the word “DRAFT” bolded on the front page, and mine did not. Why do I think this was? Because where he was complacent and shy in his meetings, I was basically peppering our boss with more questions than she could handle. Sure, some didn’t make me look too bright, but that’s a normal part of the process and your boss always knows more than you and always will be willing to help you understand what you need to make your project click.
The eagerness to ask questions is just one component of the many dimensions I learned about for me as a person and a professional during my first internship. I really can’t say how much more ready it made me for the work force when I graduate in 2017 (gulp) but I would strongly recommend you put everything you can into finding an internship because the work will pay dividends. Unfortunately I won’t go into crazy detail in this blog post, but I offer up my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if anyone wants to meet and discuss. I know a candid conversation with internshipees helped me along my interview process, and I am more than happy if you want to reach out.
Best of Luck,