By: Oluwasegun Esan
Oluwasegun Esan is a 12th grade student at People’s Prep Charter School. He is currently an intern for Schools That Can Newark.
Hello, everyone! My name is Segun. I am an intern at Schools That Can. This is my second internship, as I am a high school student. I joined this internship because I wanted to further expand my horizons, since I am going to be leaving for college next year. I had a major in mind, which is Biology, but I wanted more. I decided to join Schools That Can because I wanted to see what it’s like on the humanitarian side of the work, and I get to help my supervisors help over 600 other high school students.
This is going to be the first time I am writing a blog. My goal is to educate others about career skills and how these skills can play a role in getting an internship like I have for the past two years. I interned at University Hospital Cancer Center last year. It was a great internship–I learned a lot about how a hospital is run just from being an intern, and learned what it takes to schedule appointments for patients when they can’t get to the hospital alone. I wanted to pursue an internship because I felt like I needed real-world experience on what it’s like in the life of a professional. I wanted to experience real-world situations, not listen to them from a TV screen, and to help out with as much as I can.
In this blog, I am going to be talking about key skills that have helped in my internships: communication, planning, organizing, and being open to learning. These are skills that I acquired during my year of being an intern, and without these skills, I wouldn’t have functioned like I did during my internship years. These are skills that I believe every intern needs to acquire so they have ideas on ways to make things easier for them at their internship, or with their supervisor when they are working together.
Communication is one of many other factors that play a big role with working with others, but especially as a student at an internship. To get an internship, communication skills are something that needs to be a huge priority, because without communication there could be miscommunication.
Without communication, you and your supervisor won’t be able to build a bond together, and not growing that bond will lead to the work given to the intern not being done the right way or not done to the right standards.
As an intern, you should listen and ask questions because if you don’t speak up, if you don’t understand what they are saying and asking questions, something might go wrong. Good communication is something like looking directly at your supervisor when he or she is talking to you, and making sure that you give them your undivided attention. If any questions come up, let them finish and say “Thank you for explaining but I still don’t understand this part. Can you please re-explain?” This can help make you a better communicator.
Without teamwork, you can’t succeed at an internship, especially as a student that has no other job experiences in the past. Teamwork reduces the work and tasks that were assigned.
In December or early November, I had to talk to people from different facilities–people I had never met before, since I was interning at the hospital. We had to work together to help set up for mammogram screenings.
I was a little bit nervous, but talking to them made things much easier: something that would normally take 2-3 days only took one, so talking to others and getting out of my comfort zone helped with the work.
Planning and Organizing
Planning and organizational skills are something that you will need for the rest of your life, but play a big role in getting an internship. What I’ve learned over the years as an intern is that planning a task that was given to you makes things much easier, and helps organize your thoughts. I have to get through things swiftly so that I don’t forget what to do at certain times, so planning and organizing is something that you need to really develop to be able to present yourself as responsible. I knew when and where to do my work, and the due dates. Having this process made sure that I didn’t miss deadlines. It makes sure that I had everything that I needed so my supervisor is satisfied with the work I’ve done.
As a student, I would say that using Google calendar is the best tip I can give to other students.
You can set reminders of when things are due, and you can keep track of all your schedules, the meetings you need to be in at your internship, and where you need to be at a certain time. Planning and organizing should be one of the most important things you can learn at an internship.
Open to Learning
Being open to learning is one of the most important reasons you should have an internship: for the experience.
To have an internship, you need to have an open mind, because having an open mind is like a career jumpstart or an igniter. It can lead into something in the future because of things that you learnt from the experience that you got back then.