Excitingly sad end!


The last 2 weeks were quite hectic, I definitely had the most amount of work during my last weeks that previously in my internship. Additionally, due to the fact that my boss is abroad, in a completely different time zone, there have been a couple of days where I would be in communication with him late at night, even during work at night and on the weekends (very similar to college life). Tip: Be prepared to work hours outside your regular office hours, this is how you can impress your boss and get more work in. The time difference communication was a little hectic as there was more work to do at night and in the mornings than during the afternoon, but it was in interesting experience, definitely prepared me for the real world where I will probably have to work a lot.

It’s my last day, and my last blog post! It has been quite an amazing and complex time that I have had over the past 3 months, and although I am sad to leave my internship and New York City, I am excited to go back to college and put what I have learned into my work and future experiences. Finishing up and saying bye to everyone is always a little sad, but I’m glad that I had this opportunity and learned so much from many different people. My next task is to keep in touch with all the coworkers whom I have met, and to remember all that I have learned and put it to some good use in the future.

Don’t give up too easily!

The last two small projects which I was given, I initially just hit a wall and couldn’t figure out how to complete the tasks. They most certainly were not simple tasks, but to not fully completing a project because it seems impossible is simply unacceptable. After struggling for sometime and not being able to come up with a complete solution I informed my boss, and obviously he was not impressed. I continued to work on the project, and I did eventually come up with a solution, however, I was embarrassed that I initially gave up too easily. Tip: At work there are definitely going to be times when you think you cannot do something, but there is always a solution, never give up!

The other project which I had to complete was creating a graph online or on excel. Normally this would be a simple task, however, there was so much information to insert onto one graph and not specific data with which to correlate. I previously thought I was relatively decent at excel and creating graphs, but with this, I had no idea how to even begin. I was stumped. I spent quite a bit of time simply panicking, and debating in my head as to how I could possibly complete this. I then preceded to create five different graphs in order to include all the information needed, but my boss needed everything to be in one pictorial representation. Later my boss recommended I simply draw a graph and scan it to him, so as to not waste time. I was really embarrassed that I could not create a graph. My goal now is to drastically increase my excel skills so that I will be able to work more efficiently in this technology based age. Tip: Excel is so immensely important not matter which field you are going into! Definitely invest time in learning that, it will be very useful in the future.

Taking up new tasks

Work, a lot of the time consists of routine, well at least it does for me. I know coming into work what my daily routine and work will be. I come in and first check my emails to see if there is anything urgent or particular that I have to do that day. I then respond to my emails, work on the small projects given to me that day, or I work on the ongoing summer long project which I have been given. However, over the last week my routine varied quite significantly and was given new tasks from the editing department. Tip: As an intern always accept new tasks offered to you as it is such a great way to learn a lot more about the industry and the company as a whole. I was asked to look up certain children’s books which could be used in the creation of textbooks. It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, and I learned all the intricate complexities which are associated with even the simplest of children’s books.

It was refreshing to change my routine and to work on something quite different from my usual work. I learned so much about children’s books and the children’s book publishing industry which gave me such an appreciation for the industry and reinforced my passion for children’s education. Moreover, I got a hands on experience, going to a large children’s library in New York. It definitely was overwhelming trying to find the books we needed, especially in a time crunch. The experience, however, of working by looking at children’s books was one that I absolutely loved. Taking up this new task showed me part of the reason why I want to go into children’s education in the future.

Is it always the more the merrier?

We are all common with the saying the more the merrier, however, when giving information in the workplace I have realized that majority of the time this is not the case. People are busy, especially our bosses, and they don’t have time to read several pages of information. Tip: summarise and condense information in a concise way, but without leaving out anything important. Now this may seem as one of those easier said than done tasks, which it may just be, but learning how to do this is such an essential part of many jobs, and is definitely worth spending some time learning.

Not only is it imperative to summarize and condense necessary information in writing, but it is also essential to do this when speaking or presenting on a certain topic or project. There is the possibility that the nerves do play a part when presenting and we become stifled and forget some pertinent information. This is something I am very familiar with. Even though I generally only present my research to my boss, I am still nervous when presenting because I want him to like the work which I’ve done. However, in the moment I leave out some facts, and often keep talking when my boss doesn’t react. I realised that people need time to process the information, so they can’t respond immediately, but I get nervous and continue blabbing. I have learned through my internship that it takes time to understand people’s reactions and what they want, and from there it isn’t difficult to present according to your audience. Additionally, it takes time for nerves to fade, and once those pass, presenting is much easier. I don’t skip as much relevant information anymore, or babble on about unnecessary information. Of course I’m human and the nerves still do kick in occasionally, where I become stifled and forget things in the moment, but I definitely am now more confident in my summary skills, both in writing and presenting.

New tasks are difficult! But wait I can do it!

Things have started to get crazy! Crazy in the best way possible – lots of work. This is of course what I wanted to do all along, I love to keep busy all the time. Now I will certainly be busy and I’m excited. I’m designing and planning out the layout for a new website! What? I did not even know that was in the scope of my capability. Granted I was freaking out a little bit when I was assigned this project, and I had so many questions, most of them I didn’t even ask. But, I just took a deep breath and started, I had to start somewhere, so I started by calming myself. Tip: don’t get frantic if you think you cannot complete a task. You can! There is a solution to everything, you just have to take it one step at a time and figure it out in a composed manner.
Although I had my doubts on this draft for the website, I can tell you, even if it isn’t used, I did learn that I can do more than what I had expected. I learned how much detail and planning goes into a full fledged website, and the importance of having a well made website for businesses in this technology driven world. We sometimes often take for granted the availability of all the websites we have access to on the internet, and don’t understand how complex a website can actually be. Not only did I learn more about my abilities, but I definitely increased my microsoft word skills, and to some degree my design skills. However, my successful design skills could be debatable on whether you actually know good designs! Tip: Always believe in yourself. If you have faith in yourself and work hard, you’ll find a way.

Benefitting from small actions early on

Time flies! I have already completed 4 weeks of my internship, and I don’t know where the time went. It’s crazy how quickly time passes. Over the past 4 weeks, my role in the company has completely changed. I started off doing more administrative work and a couple of very small research projects on the side. Then I was given a large project for the summer, but still had some of the administrative work which I had been doing initially. However, this week I have been fully immersed in my new project and the work I had been doing previously has completely stopped. It feels slightly strange, I keep waiting for an email telling to transfer or upload some files, as I had become so accustomed to doing so, but that is no longer my job. Tip: don’t keep thinking about work in the past, be happy with and focus on what you are doing in the present and it’ll be done much better. I’m glad my work has changed and that time has gone quickly, it means that I’ve been enjoying the work I’m doing.

Not only has the work I’m doing changed, but the people I am working with have changed too. Although the office is small, as many people work from home, I did not know everyone in the office. During the first few days I did not buckle up the courage to introduce myself to everyone in the office, and then eventually never really did after that. Thus, when I was given my new project in editing, I began working with a colleague I had never said a word to, and I was embarrassed that I did not meet him initially. He gave me a breakdown course on editing and what is done in the publishing industry, and in the few days working with him I have learned quite a bit about publishing. Not only has my colleague given me advice and guidance on the industry, but he also gave me tips on what to do in New York whilst I am here. I regret not meeting him earlier, I could have learned a lot more. Tip: always introduce yourself to everyone in the office and be friendly, you can learn a lot from people even those you aren’t particularly working with.

Changing it up

The first two weeks of my internship went quite smoothly. I finally started to get the hang of what I was doing and how to do my tasks correctly. Granted, the first couple of times I did completely mess up…whoops, not good! Tip: always ask for help if you are confused. It is more embarrassing to get a task wrong than to simply ask for a little help and know how to correctly proceed in the future. However, besides a couple of slip ups, I was very much enjoying working and learning more in detail about QBS Learning.  I was settling into my role in the company.

However, my role changed. A couple of days ago I was given a project for the rest of my time at QBS Learning. I am enthused to be given a project, this means I have more work to do (I love keeping busy), and this way I can make a larger contribution to the company during my time here. Although I am thrilled with this new work which I have been given, I am slightly nervous. I am no longer working with my initial supervisor, nor am I seeing her that much. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do constantly. I have to be able to make decisions on my own in order to complete my project well and on time. Welcome to the real world Fatema!

Change is good. Even though it is only change after two weeks, it is good to work on something new, something that I will have to push myself to do. It’ll be different to not having someone check if I have completed a task correctly, but that gives me motivation to prove myself at the end. Tip: Not having someone directly watch what you are doing is not an excuse to work half heartedly. Not working efficiently will come back and haunt you later. Prove that you are as great as you say.

Buzzing Beginning

The first day, and week sometimes is always the hardest and most nerve wracking for an internship, and this was the same for me. Prior to starting my internship at QBS Learning I was overly enthusiastic, excited and confident about this upcoming experience! This is my first internship outside of home, Zimbabwe, and it is in New York. I certainly thought it was one to rave about. However, the night before my first day I started to feel nervous and scared. Normal of course, because we all want to make the best first impression.

Getting to workalways leave early! Get there earlier rather than later. I’m not a New Yorker, I got lost a couple of times getting to work the first day. Which way do I go if I want to walk West – Aaahh I don’t know? I obviously started walking East. Leaving early is good, in all my confusion, I just made it in time, thankfully!

The first day of work – meeting everyone and a crash course on everything about the company, its clients, and its current projects, in addition to what you have to do. Just a little bit overwhelming at first, did I remember everything I was told? Probably not! Remember, write down everything! Even if you think you don’t need to, sometimes we forget and need that information. I certainly forgot, I learned from my mistakes, I write a lot now.

My first week – definitely a great one! My boss is lovely, I’ve learned a lot more about the company and work in general (using the favorite excel), and met a fellow Zimbabwean who works at the company, what are the odds. The first week has gotten me thrilled to see what the rest of the summer has to offer. I’m always keen to learn and do more.