The pivotal moment in my summer was when I stopped looking at my internship as a job but started seeing it as an opportunity. We all joined VIEW, the Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Washington D.C., in order to be a part of something more than our job. However, thinking about this type of experience and living this type of experience is very different.
For most of us, it took a learning curve to appreciate that, while we may provide free labor for a variety of relatively low-skill tasks, our respective organizations provide much more to us. They provide us exposure to a variety of topics, experience with new situations, perspective on the work force, advice for our potential career paths, and most importantly a network. The moment we saw past the daily tasks we were assigned, looked at what was going on around us, and became engaged – these were the moments where our internships became experiences.
This summer I have had the incredible opportunity of interning with The Livingston Group and with their lead partner in the International Practice area. Through this experience, I have learned a variety of skills and lessons that will stick with me for years to come. I have discovered new things about myself, my friends, and the work force that I will join in only 10 months! I made these discoveries by engaging in the network available to me and talking to anyone who was generous enough to share their time. Through these conversations I learned many lessons of which I will just name a few.
- Don’t make assumptions… about people, about your abilities, about your future, about anything.
- Don’t ever let your ego get bigger than your work ethic. Be willing to work.
- Do not ever talk badly about anyone. What goes around, comes around. You never know who that person may become in the future.
- Ask questions (but do your research first).
- Wish success for others so others will wish success for you.
- Pay attention to detail.
- Pass “the torch”. Everyone got to where they are today because of someone who helped them along the way. When given the opportunity, be that torch for someone else.