This summer was a unique time for me. Having just come back from studying in England for the year, I delved right into a new work environment. The industry was unfamiliar to me as was the work and even the location. Quickly, I learned that instead of focusing on how new and unfamiliar everything seemed, I could turn this into a chance to ask questions about just about everything. And this is how I managed to maximize my time at the office and make the experience a worthwhile and rewarding one. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, I’ve created a list of the top lessons learned from this summer.

  1. Values matter. Many students looking for internships or entry-level positions focus on ‘the name’ or reputation of a firm. They neglect to learn about the organization’s culture or what its people think are the values that drive the work that they do. To me, the values of my colleagues matter because they are the people with whom I will collaborate and share my work space. As such, there must be some compatibility in what we believe are strong and ethical principles. This summer, I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who maintained, above all, a strong work ethic. Their strong work ethic derives from their alignment behind the belief that business is conducted honestly. It is from my colleagues that I learned how much an organization’s values matter to me.
  2. The Dickinson College Career Center Internship Grant Program is a life-saver. Unlike many academic institutions, Dickinson fully supports – as best that it can – the opportunities with which Dickinsonians are presented. It provides grants to help cover the costs of taking on an internship or relocating, like food, housing/rent, or transportation. Without the grant, I would likely have been unable to afford to relocate for this internship. Every bit of funding makes a difference in having the chance to make the most of your summer employment.
  3. Attitude makes a difference. One of my personal goals this summer was to maintain a positive attitude no matter what. Even though I was in the office by 7am, I always reminded myself that my attitude affects the team’s vibe and I can easily off-put a colleague simply by being negative. Although easier said than done, the small reminder to appreciate the opportunities presented can be all the reassurance you need even when work gets tough. If I can be a source of positivity for my teammates, I feel that I’ve already added value to the organization. For it is by a team effort that we achieve our goals and one teammate can make all the difference.

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