Exploring Michigan

In the past few years, I’ve moved from Tampa to Columbus and Columbus to Midland, Michigan. The running joke is that I just keep moving more north as I grow older. Living in Michigan has truly been a new experience for me. I accepted my internship with Dow Chemical without letting location be a major decision making factor. With that being said, I didn’t really have any strong expectations for what it would be like to live in Michigan this summer.

One of the coolest things about an internship is it allows you to test out a company or organization for a handful of weeks before you make any decisions. Internships also allow you to live in a whole new place for a couple of months. Internships are a great time to explore nearby cities and attractions and to spend your free time going somewhere new. I’ve learned that working 40 hours during the week and having the weekends to do whatever I wish makes it easy to travel and go to new places. Not having to worry about work or school on the weekends and having the free time has allowed me to go to a few different places in Michigan this summer.

Over the course of the summer, I’ve travelled to a handful of different places in Michigan. I’ve been “Up North” a few times and have gone to Detroit twice. I’ve been to tourist destinations such as Mackinac Island as well as up to the lakes up north just to relax. If I could go back and do my internship again, I would travel to even more to places like Chicago, Cedar Point, the Upper Peninsula, and maybe even Canada. A summer internship really is an opportunity to live in a new place and explore new places before you go back to school where that isn’t always an option. While location doesn’t need to be a major decision factor when choosing an internship, I would encourage you to make the most of the location of your internship by exploring and travelling. Internships really are a great time to learn about your profession or career as well as to see and do new things.

8-5

My internship, like most accounting internships or full-time jobs, consists of being in the office from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. This typical 40-hour work week is very different from the average college student’s schedule. It takes some time to adjust yourself to this schedule both mentally and physically. Give it time and you’ll learn to love the lifestyle and learn a few tricks to make the most of the work day.

Working 8-5 has both its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros: you’re done at 5, you have nothing to do on the weekends, your schedule is consistent and planned out ahead of time, and you don’t have to worry about work once you leave the office. The cons (which I find to be a simple annoyance): you have to get up bright and early every morning and staying focused for eight hours straight can be difficult. When I compare the 8-5 workday to my own college schedule, I find that I am usually busy 8 to midnight during school but have a lot of wasted time such as travelling between classes and napping. In the end, while the work week schedule may appear different than my college student schedule, both lifestyles keep my busy, occupied, engaged, and motivated.

In college I don’t drink coffee regularly. Since the beginning of my internship, I have learned to love coffee. Coffee gives me that boost to be motivated and productive throughout the work day. Drinking coffee has real benefits such as keeping you energized and focused. When I’ve got a tough day ahead of me, I know that coffee can help make a long eight hour work day feel short.

One of the reasons why an 8-5 workday can be tough is because there aren’t too many large breaks during the day. Your desk chair can get uncomfortable after just a few hours. Finding reasons to get up and walk around even if just for a couple of minutes helps to lessen the toll that the long day takes on you.

Given that Midland isn’t a large city, I am able to go home for lunch and still have plenty of time to eat before heading back. My tip is to try to get out of the office for lunch every once in a while. Getting away from the office for lunch helps to take your mind off of work and rejuvenate you in time for the second half of the work day.

Reflecting on my internship, I now realize that working 8-5 isn’t as bad as some will make it out to be. I believe the positive work-life balance far outweighs the few cons of the long work day. I’ve learned a few of the tricks above to help keep me focused and motivated throughout the day. When my mind is focused on the work in front of me, the days fly by.

Intern Program Opportunities

Many intern programs complement your standard project or group based work with formal intern events. These lunches, trainings, or activities contribute to your internship experience by immersing you in the company culture, developing you for the future, and connecting you with other interns, full-time employees, and leaders. The benefits of being involved in a formal intern program are copious. Dow’s finance internship program presents multiple intern events that have already positively impacted my experience at Dow.

About once a week, all of the Dow Finance interns get together for an “intern speaker series.” These speaker series bring in a different leader within the finance department to engage in a dialogue about their career, the company, and much more. These speaker series not only allow the interns to network with the leaders of the company but also to learn from their experience and knowledge. So far, we have had the opportunity to meet with the corporate controller, the corporate auditor, and a director of business finance. These speakers also allow the interns to understand what work goes on in the speaker’s group or department and what a career in that field may encompass. Out of all of the organized intern events, these speaker series or “lunches with leaders” have been the most impactful and beneficial for me.

Two weeks ago, the intern program had a training session on presentations and public speaking. This training was much different than the other intern program events because its focus was to develop our soft and technical skills. Formal training sessions show that the organization is dedicated to the development and progression of their interns. The training consisted of a discussion with an expert public speaking trainer and exercises to practice and improve our speaking skills. The training also gave the intern group more time to connect and build relationships with each other. At the end of the day, I was able to walk away with a set of public speaking tips, skills, and techniques that I will be able to use in my future roles.

The intern program culminates with a final presentation to peers and leaders of the company. These presentations allow each of the finance interns to explain the projects they worked on during the summer, the results of their projects, and what they learned during the summer to other interns, finance professionals, and leaders of the finance organization. This opportunity allows you to advertise yourself and your work to others in the company as well as to reflect on your experiences over the course of the summer.

Other formal events that have or will occur include a trip to tour Dow’s Texas operations in Freeport, Texas, a career fair of Dow Finance groups and departments, picnics, baseball games, and much more. The various events that take place inside and outside of work throughout the summer allow the interns to connect with each other, explore the city of Midland, and get a better understanding for the culture of the company and the city.

The point to take away from all of this is that every event, training, or dialogue is an opportunity to learn, develop, and network. Formal intern events are a great way to see the true culture of a company as well as to develop your skills. I would encourage you to consider the emphasis that an organization puts on developing its interns when you are going through recruiting. If the company sees you as the future of the organization, they will put the resources and opportunities forward for you to take advantage of!

Not Your Average Desk Job

I started my internship at North High Brewing the other week and it’s awesome. My desk is either sitting inside the brewery or at the bar in the taproom. I’m helping them out with their marketing and event planning side of the business and learning a lot, especially about beer. The craft beer industry is booming and acts as a community. I was told by several at the Ohio Craft Brewers Association’s quarterly meeting I would never leave this thriving industry. So excited to see what’s in store for the rest of the summer, cheers!

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Beginnings

Two weeks into my internship, and I can tell it’s going to be the summer of a lifetime. Having the chance to both live and work in Madrid has incited more thoughts and feelings than I can truly process; the greatest of these, though, is feeling overwhelmingly grateful. Every day, I go to work in the Human Resources department of Inditex. Inditex is a European fashion company that owns brands like Zara and Pull&Bear; we process applications and resumes to hire associates for the fast approaching sales that take place in Spain the entire month of July. As absolutely no English is to be spoken in my office, not only am I learning about the hiring process of a global corporation, but I am using and thinking in Spanish more than my six years of classes ever truly required of me. Though professional growth is a goal of every intern over the summer, acclimating to a new culture and company has taught me just as much about myself, and the power of your thoughts, during these first two weeks as it has shown me insight into my professional aspirations.

The first day in a new office can be intimidating. A positive attitude and an open mind can turn any situation into a good one.

Say yes more often. You never know when the dinner you got dragged into going to will be completely paid for by the stranger sitting next to you.

Embrace where you are and who you’re with. While we came here to work, it’s that time spent with the 35 other Ohio State students that I know will be the defining moments of summer.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. We all accidentally call our drinks (bebidas) babies (bebes) sometimes, anyways.

Life is all about people, and the quality of your relationships is dependent on your communication. Never again will I take speaking the same language as everyone around me for granted!

It’s not selfish to prioritize yourself; it’s completely necessary. While living with 35 other students is amazing fun sometimes, other times you need to exercise your independence, and have the confidence in those decisions to not second guess yourself.

Getting lost is FUN. Exploring a new place keeps in perspective just how small your problems are in relation to the rest of the world.

It’s not leaving your comfort zone, it’s expanding your comfort zone. Appreciate the differences you experience, or the lessons you learn. You’ll discover just how capable you truly are.

There are times that being an intern may not be glamorous, but remember to always be grateful.

And the best part about this all is that it’s only the beginning, but that’s the beauty of life.. Every day is a new beginning.