It is 8 o’clock in the morning and you join your team’s daily meeting to discuss your work for the day. You are greeted by your teammates’ energetic conversations, while still in your morning stupor. Due to your sleep deprivation and lack of preparation, you have not been able to contribute your thoughts today. Of course, your lack of participation due to an occasional lack of sleep is certainly passable, but this can become an issue if it becomes a routine occurrence. While it seems as though work goes on as usual, regardless of your enthusiasm levels in the morning, this could be the difference between having an amazing internship and a boring 8 months working from home.
Nothing is more exciting than being around motivated, ambitious individuals. These individuals are pioneers that show us what can be achieved in the confusing corporate jungle, all while keeping a positive mindset. On the contrary, listless and lethargic individuals sap the energy of all those around them.
So, the choice is yours – will you take advantage of your internship, or will you simply complete an internship to add some lines to your resume? It is always great to be able to quantify your work through numbers and tasks, but it is the meaningful experiences that will diversify your story.
There is a saying that goes, “your attitude determines your altitude”. What does this really mean and how will it help me gain better experiences? Well, how you carry yourself in your working environment will determine your growth, achievements, and ultimately, what kind of work environment you engage in. Each company has unique experiences to offer you, but how you shape your mindset is what will help you take advantage of it. As an intern who has worked in both small and large offices, what I have made out of my experience is what ultimately defined my workplace, my happiness, and my growth.
Throughout my internships at SAP as a Marketing and Design Specialist, the Beedie School of Business as a Project Manager, and my experience in student organizations, I kept three personal values that helped me define my attitude, drive my purpose, and reach new altitudes.
Adaptability is a reminder to stay agile and find new solutions, while constantly learning new skills and redefining myself. During my co-op at the Beedie School of Business, I was taking on multiple projects with different stakeholders, bringing my student perspective to come up with new ideas to increase student engagement, create marketing campaigns and facilitate events. With some of our bigger projects like Beedie Launch, our small team needed to use our limited human resources to allocate work effectively to ensure nothing fell through the cracks.
At SAP, the steep learning curve forced me to step outside my comfort zone and overcome my imposter syndrome quickly so I could focus on contributing to the team. Taking on a role that combines both Marketing and Design aspects within a business-focused area, I need to ensure that I can communicate my designs effectively and adapt my work to their needs. In my extracurricular roles at SAP, I wore multiple hats, with roles in business strategy, creative design, communications, and editorial roles, all of which required me to utilize different skills and solve different problems.
At the end of the day, adaptability is what will keep you grounded during stressful times and allow you to get out of your comfort zone. Even when I was not confident in my abilities, I was always willing to learn, stay accountable, and deliver results.
Within both my roles, I was juggling multiple extra commitments, such as student organizations, case competitions, and additional community positions within the company. It can be overwhelming and difficult to manage responsibilities for each team and give my best at each task. When taking on new roles, I always evaluated each one against my goals, prioritizing what I was involved in, and ensuring that I would be able to deliver on what I promised to each team.
In a new internship, accountability means completing training, seeking new resources to elevate my knowledge, and preparing myself to deliver. As a team member, it means waking up for early morning meetings and being ready to contribute to each one. For my work, this means checking in with coworkers regularly, putting in a bit of extra work to ensure that each deliverable is completed with all considerations made, and relieving the load of other teammates where I can contribute more.
Lastly, ambition. While it seems often defined synonymous with stepping on others for your own benefit, by ambition, I do not mean gaining status and putting others down. By ambition, I mean seeking new opportunities for your own development within your workplace, gaining new experiences, and involving yourself in community initiatives you are excited about. Your feeling of success should be the value you gain from completing work you are proud of, regardless of how others view it. However, this does not mean you should abandon external success. Instead, intrinsic ambition and passion for your work will actually amplify your external successes. This mindset is what pushed me to be involved with neat projects during my internships, such as becoming a main organizer of Beedie Launch, completing a global hackathon, becoming a regular contributor to SAP’s social channels, and curating weekly publications for SAP interns.
Adaptability, accountability, and ambition are all part of the attitude I hold close to heart while navigating through the workplace. These values are what lead me to accomplish everything I wished for from my internship experiences, and what help me feel prepared to tackle new opportunities in the future. While they may not be the formula for your success, developing your own strong set of fundamental values will allow you to define your own work environment and reach new altitudes.