Something I learned this summer at PKSOI was the feeling of being valued by colleagues in the workplace. Although I worked in a similar office environment last summer at a construction firm, my input was not nearly as considered as it is here. From day one the director of PKSOI made it very clear that he valued intern input, however I didn’t completely believe that a United States colonel would actually care about the opinions of undergraduates. The opposite proved to be true. I found that during discussions, lectures and briefings, I felt extremely included and part of the situation. My opinions were listened to, valued and taken into account at every turn and as a result, I feel very satisfied with my overall internship experience.
To cite a concrete example, today the two star general commandant of the U.S. Army War College took time out of his extremely busy day to meet with all the interns and discuss our experience at PKSOI. The general was not only concerned with the good parts of our experience, but also the bad parts and suggestions we might have for the internship program going forward. For an hour, we were able to discuss the positive and negative aspects of PKSOI in a completely candid fashion, as none of our supervisors or mentors was allowed in the meeting. This gave us the opportunity to be completely honest with a superior about our experience this summer.
Being valued in an internship setting not only makes you feel good, but also encourages you to work harder to achieve your goals. Even before this internship began, I already felt extremely valued by Dickinson when they invested $2,000 in me in the form of a grant. Since PKSOI is an unpaid internship, this grant and investment allowed me to stay in Carlisle over the summer and afford to work without pay. Without this grant, I could never have afforded this opportunity and would have missed out on the wonderful experience that was this internship.