Being an Intern

  • September 15, 2015

An internship is beneficial in so many ways. My experience at R&W as an intern has given me direction and insight into the engineering field as well as provided me with valuable workplace experience. Before starting college I had no experience and very little knowledge regarding the engineering field and I began this internship not knowing what tasks or responsibilities that engineers encounter daily.  Throughout this summer with R&W I was given the opportunity to experience those tasks and responsibilities, as well as acquiring tools and a new skill set that cannot be taught in a classroom in college.

I’ve been educated on HVAC fundamentals and how they apply specifically to different jobs, as well as compiling information and putting together energy reports while following the proper energy codes. At R&W I have also had the chance to further my skills in technical writing, Microsoft Excel, as well as participating in basic tasks within the office setting that could apply to any various positions that I may hold in the future. In addition, I have strengthened my communication skills with both co-workers and executives. Asking many questions during this internship has gave me valuable insight regarding what a future job in mechanical engineering might look like.

When it comes to the working-world outside of college, there will always be difficult aspects of the job that you will struggle with. Transitioning from college to a full time 40-hour work week was something that I had yet to encounter. Finding a balance between sleep and longer work hours was also a challenge as I am prone to stay up later in the evenings. This schedule took a toll on me in the beginning as it was something that I was not accustomed to. I also found it challenging asking for help or clarification of a task. This act can feel very bothersome and I often felt like I was interrupting their task.  In hindsight, I learned that asking a lot of questions and getting clarification is good communication.  Throughout this experience I was able to catch a glimpse of the real work world and how I should expect to manage my time more productively.

Despite the sometimes challenging aspects of being an intern, there were various reasons it was enjoyable. At R&W, I was paid for my time, and discovered throughout the summer that many other internships were not paid, which was an added motivator. The smaller company size also enabled me to directly contribute to multiple projects in a direct way that a larger company may not have been able to.  Another reason I embraced being an intern at R&W was the friendly people I encountered. From the first day, I felt welcomed by the group of people that work here. Every morning I was greeted with kindly “Good Morning’s” and they treated me like an adult, something that I had yet to encounter.

As I prepare to finish my summer internship here at R&W, I reflect back and have gathered a few points of advice to future interns. The first being, it is okay to ask questions. Ask a lot of them. By asking questions, you are exhibiting that you are honest and need to be informed about something you don’t know. You also show that you have a desire to learn and to become better equipped to tackle the job in front of you. My second piece of advice is be willing to do the small tasks, the tasks that no one else wants to do. Cheerfully accepting jobs like taking out the recycling or organizing files says a lot about your character within the work place. Finally, show interest and be excited about the job that you are about to undertake. No one likes to hire or work with someone who is unenthusiastic.

Your potential internship can teach you a new software program or skill, it can help you realize which direction you want to go with your career, and it can give you a chance to use your already acquired skills to help others. This summer I was able to experience all of these, and in the end, I found my internship experience very valuable.

Author: Jenna Hills

  • September 15, 2015