Starting something new is scary – the unknown is something everyone fears. That very human emotion was present before starting my internship. I was nervous about my interview, scared I wouldn’t get the job and let down my parents, and worried that the job itself wouldn’t be enjoyable. There were a million things going on in my mind but I knew that no matter what happened, I would learn and grow from it.
As I began on my first day, I realized I was the youngest person on the team and I began to feel like my contributions wouldn’t be as important compared to the older, more experienced people on the team. I had never taken a single marketing class and I felt utterly unprepared. Still, I knew I would do my best to add what I could, since what more could I do than try my best?
Even as I started, I never felt like I was inadequate. I worried before speaking, but as soon as I got it out of the way, Sarah (my boss and mentor) and the team supported me. I realized that I am capable, and it has been my own self-doubt that holds me back. If you are in a similar position and the people around you are making you feel like you are not capable, surround yourself with better people; you are more than enough if you give it your all. If you are struggling, explore different topics and fields because, you never know, you might find something you’re passionate about and gifted with.
Something Sarah emphasized and taught me is that mental and physical health is important. On days when my health was not at its best, I felt the impact on my work. I was less motivated, productive, and focused. It’s something that companies tend to try to downgrade, but a company is made up of people, who have very human needs. It’s important to make sure the people that are in charge of keeping the company productively running are feeling their best.
From Robert Curtis in the Illusion to Reality book, allow yourself to take risks and start on new projects. You can grow your network and capabilities if you take on a leadership role for a project, or involve yourself in something outside of your comfort zone. It opens the doors for new opportunities and for you to take on more tasks. I had the opportunity to lead a few projects, and although I was nervous, I realized that I did occasionally enjoy being a leader. I was able to learn about humility in leadership and taking charge.
Similarly, Jeff Hugh’s emphasis on developing soft skills is vital. Soft skills can get you farther than your own talents. If you are personable, people will like you and want to give you more chances. No matter how far raw skills can get you, soft skills will elevate you. If you show interest and take responsibility, they know that you are a person of character. Many mornings, we had prayer meetings before starting our work, and getting a chance to talk to the other people on the team gave me the skills to talk politely and professionally to others in a corporate setting.
As I start the final stretch of college, I plan on continuing to pursue excellence in the workplace and my schoolwork. Working in a corporate setting, even for a short period of time, teaches you all about responsibility, productivity, and communication. These are applicable skills as I work with fellow students and professors.
My biggest piece of advice for you, no matter who you are: have a mindset looking for new experiences. It could be places, people, or things, but new experiences help you grow as a person. It will make you more knowledgeable, wise, and a better person to be around. It’s never too late to try something different and grow.
Contributor: Charis Lee
Charis Lee is a marketing student at the University of California, Riverside. She worked as an intern at United Yearbook, a DBA of Tse Worldwide Press working on social media strategy, marketing, and data analysis during the summer of 2022. She's passionate about the fields of corporate data analysis and marketing.