I hope everyone is having a great start to their school year! I was more or less catapulted into mine!
As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had an internship this past summer. I worked with the research and development team of a plastic compounding company in Minnesota. As a native Iowan it was really cool to live in a different state for a few months. I was able to go kayaking and even learned paddle-boarding. I also enjoyed taking a few trips to the Twin Cities to see the Mall of America and a nearby zoo. I got involved in the community that I lived in by volunteering on stage crew for a community theatre and attending a Shakespeare festival. Between people I met through volunteering and people I met at my internship, I definitely made new friends and had plenty of activities to keep me busy.
The internship itself was absolutely fantastic. I was incredibly nervous on my first day (and first week), until I got used to the work dynamic, managed to find my way around the building, and met some awesome people who patiently answered all my questions. Switching from the school dynamic to the work dynamic was definitely a shock, but a very welcome one. It was so nice to be super focused/productive for 8 hours and then have free time to relax and take a mental break. The common theme throughout my internship was ‘Learn something new everyday’. There wasn’t a single day where I didn’t learn a new process, test, or a more efficient method. This fast-paced learning made every day at work interesting and presented enjoyable challenges. I had my own project that I worked on, which allowed me to develop my own organization and plan of attack for accomplishing as much as possible. I learned a lot about research methods and how to set up a study. Learning to balance all my project work with helping engineers with their projects gave me a lot of organization skills along with learning how engineers structure projects.
I also have to say something about the people I worked with. Everyone that I worked with was awesome! I met so many great people with interesting stories, a willingness to share their knowledge, and the patience to help me learn. I learned a lot about how an industrial business works and the diversity of skill sets in a workplace. I know that I messed up a few different times, but everyone was extremely patient and turned all of my mishaps into a great learning experience. I also really enjoyed getting to know everyone personally. So many of the people I worked with had a lot of great life experience to share and I really appreciated the advice they gave me.
Overall, the internship was a great experience. It really helped give me direction for what I want to do as well as give me motivation for the semesters I have left. I’m excited for the next few semesters now that I’ve seen the end goal and how our classes apply to the workplace.