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Natasha's Blog - Communication Studies

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Final update-May 7, 2009

This is it, folks…

I have to admit that coming into my internship I really didn’t have insight to what I was getting myself into. I knew that I was going to be a “Communications Intern” but I really didn’t know what it was all going to entail. From the first day of my internship it felt like I was thrown into the experience and I continued to run to keep up with everyone. I really enjoyed the feeling of learning something new every day. It made me feel like I was getting one step closer to the real working world. In my internship I quickly learned that everyday could very possibly be filled with new and unexpected events which was a lot different than the classroom. I really enjoyed going to work every day knowing I had work to do but other things would probably come up. During my internship my multitasking skills were tested almost every day. I feel really good about strengthening my ability to multitask because that is what employers are looking for. They want to know that their employees can handle many things at once and will not break under pressure. The Healthcare organization’s Communications Department was not afraid to challenge me by giving me different tasks to complete.

From the very beginning of my internship I found that I was like a sponge in water. I tried to soak up as much information as I could every day. I took every opportunity that I had to sit in on a meeting or to be a part of a project. Attending meetings was my favorite because it gave me the opportunity to be involved and I could observe how meetings were handled. I not only found myself listening closely to learn but I also found myself observing the employees in meetings. I found that observing quickly became very helpful for me to grow as a professional. Observing the mannerisms of many of my coworkers really helped me to be more attentive. It also helped me to be more professional in meetings and in day-to-day interactions.

I went into this internship thinking that I would gain writing experience, strengthen my verbal communication skills, and learn all about the insides of an organization. When I first received this internship I instantly made expectations for myself. I wanted to prove to the Director of Communications that she made the right decision to take me on as an intern. I also wanted to show the department that I was ready for the working world. Most importantly I wanted to prove to myself that I was ready and capable of entering a professional organization. I learned a lot about myself as a communicator throughout my internship. If I did not have this experience I would have never known these things until I landed my first full-time job. My internship allowed me to work on myself as a communicator because I had the opportunity to put myself out there. I had plenty of opportunities to interact and work with complete strangers which really tested my communication skills.

Being an intern has been the best experience of my college career. I feel extremely fortunate that I had this opportunity and that I was able to do it for credit. Doing this internship for credit allowed me to completely focus on the internship and working for the department. I was able to dedicate more than 32-hours a week to the department. Because I was not taking any other classes, I was able to give my undivided attention to everything that I did. I am taking so much away from this internship; great experience, memories, friendships, and much more. The Healthcare Organization that I interned for is an amazing organization and I will always remember my days serving as an intern. I am so proud of myself because I can officially say that I was a Communications Intern for one of the best Healthcare Organizations in Central Minnesota.

Finally, I will depart by sharing my future endeavors. I am set to graduate on Sunday, May 10 which is a very bitter sweet feeling these days. I am more than thrilled that I have completed my undergraduate but I wish I had a career plan to show for it. It feels like I have been job searching forever and I still do not have anything lined up. As of right now I will be working my part-time summer job while I continue to job search and re-evaluate my life goals. I have also realized that this may be the perfect opportunity to go back to school and work on a Masters Degree so there is a lot going through my head these days. Before I depart I would like to exit by offering some tips for future interns:

  • Get yourself ahead of the search quickly. Most people do not find an internship overnight so start looking ASAP;
  • Go into your internship with high energy and motivation to work;
  • Be open minded so that you get as much from the experience as you can;
  • Make as many connections as you can within the organization. You never know who may be able to help you out someday;
  • If you have a passion for what you are doing as an intern make sure you show it;
  • Even if you don’t think your supervisor is keeping track of you, they are! Remember it is their job to supervise so they are good at it; and
  • Finally, have fun and enjoy yourself. Being an intern is very special and a unique opportunity that not everyone gets. Good luck, GO HUSKIES!

-Natasha

 

Fourth update-April 22, 2009:

Closure already…WHAT? No Way!

Every Monday we have an Intern meeting with our Internship Supervisor, who is the Director of the Communications Department.  Throughout my stay here I have always looked forward to these weekly Intern meetings.  This is the time where we all come together and discuss what we are working on, share stories, and voice our thoughts.  I have really appreciated the time that the Director of Communications intentionally sets aside for us.  She is able to block off a half-hour of her busy schedule to sit down with her interns.  I think that we all benefit equally from this time because we as interns have her undivided attention and she has ours.  This is our opportunity to connect again after the weekend and she can assign one or all of us new projects.

This past Monday the burning topic at the Intern meeting was, "when is your last day."  Since all three of us attend St. Cloud State University our last day is Friday, May 1, because it is the Friday before finals week.  After finding out that it is May 1, she immediately said, "That’s next Friday already!" This was the defining moment for me because this was when I truly realized how close we are to being done.  I think we all sat for a second and tried to comprehend how fast the last few months have gone.

It is so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I have less than two weeks left of my internship.  I feel like I still have so much to do and learn from this department and organization.  There are still so many things I would like to get involved with before I leave but I now realize that there is really no time.  I know that I have grown a lot personally and professionally since I have started this internship but this organization is just so huge, I know that there is so much more to experience and to do.

Closure is never fun depending on the situation.  I have been an Intern with this Health Care Organization since January.  I committed myself to 32 hours per week because I was looking for a 12 credit internship.  I distributed these hours evenly between all five work days.  I have invested a lot of myself to this organization and to the people that I have been working with.  There is a part of me that is not ready to move on.

One of the major parts of closure for me in this situation is, knowing that I will unfortunately never see these people that I have created a strong working relationship with throughout the past few months.  I know I will be able to wrap up work projects but it is always different to wrap up the work relationships with supervisors and coworkers.  I feel like I have formed a strong friendship with everyone so saying good bye is never fun.  It is also hard to imagine that my routine is going to completely change soon.  I will no longer arrive at 7:30 a.m. and say "Good Morning," to everyone I see.  There will also be no conversations about our weekend plans and how our weekends were.

Overall, this is a very bitter sweet feeling.  It is bitter because I am near the end of this huge chapter of my life and sweet because this internship wraps up my college career.  I am getting ready to open a brand new chapter of my life!

-Natasha

Third update-April 9, 2009:

A few reflections…

Before I started this internship I questioned the idea of being one of three interns in the same department at this particular Healthcare Organization. I wondered how we, as interns, would be accepted by the department. Since all three of us are students at St. Cloud State I was unsure if we were going to be viewed as a group. I think it was something that worried me and at the same time really excited me. The idea of being a group worried me because I didn’t want everyone to compare us and more importantly I wanted to have the opportunity to work on different tasks, projects, and events. Now, that I have been in this position for a few months, almost immediately all of my worries disappeared and my excitement grew tremendously almost. The three of us are assigned to work with different Communications Specialists so we are always working on different things but we also have the opportunity to work together.

It has been great working in a group of interns. Not only am I learning a ton from the Communications Department but I am also learning a lot from the other interns. All three of us came into this internship with different experiences and knowledge that we are able to share with each other day in and day out. Along with learning from each other we are also able to relate to one another which is very important. I love going to work knowing that my peers will be there.

When working in groups for class, I found that being paired up in a non-productive group made me nervous and uneasy. No one wants to be stuck in a group of social loafers! The best thing about being an intern and working in a group is that we are all motivated. We all want to generate the best work that we can while making positive impact on the department. Ultimately, we are all interning for the experience and learning that we continue to get from this amazing opportunity.

The other day my internship advisor at St. Cloud State posed the question, "What would you like to achieve in the time you have left in the internship?" It didn’t even feel right to discuss this because I feel like I have only been interning for a few weeks not a few of months. After thinking about this question the obvious answer for me is to pick up a couple more projects to be a part of but also so I can put them in my portfolio. I also feel the most important thing for me personally is to continue to stay energized, motivated, while keeping my desire to do the best that I can with the time I have left. Spring semester is always the tough time of the year to stay motivated all the way through finals week. I will not let the "senior slide" affect me and interfere with me work. I guess only time will tell!

-Natasha

Second update-March 30, 2009:

I feel like I am now establishing a work routine and no longer feel like a visitor in the organization. I know my place in the department and my confidence in my position is building each day. I will always feel like an Intern but I feel a lot more comfortable in my position. My work situation has become clearer, and I understand what types of projects I will be assigned throughout my stay as an Intern. There are the set projects that I have but because I am working in the Communications/Marketing Department new events and things pop up every day. The unknown and unscheduled is what keeps working in the department so interesting. At my particular intern site there are three Communication Interns and one Marketing Intern which makes for a very fun atmosphere. It is really nice to be interning with other college students because we relate to each other. We really understand what each other are going through and what we are all juggling while being an Intern.

Entering this new position as an Intern I had a lot of expectations that revolved around me learning a lot about the Communications/Marketing Department in the Health Care Organization I am interning for. I expected that I would be introduced to a new professional side that I had yet to really experience. Every day I realize that my expectations are being reached. I feel very fortunate that I am receiving hands-on experiential learning each and every day. I was really excited for the transition from full-time college student taking classes to full-time college student as an intern.

By now I have definitely felt the difference between school and work. I am no longer able to roll out of bed and head to class right in the nick of time. There is no more sitting in a classroom for 50 minutes or longer, taking notes, and having assignments ready to be turned in. I now have to wake up early, get ready by dressing and looking professional and arrive to work promptly by 8:00 a.m. I still have assignments but these assignments have more crucial and different outcomes. Now the projects that I am working on will either be published or are significant steps to helping the Communications and Marketing Specialist that I work with. Everything that I work on is helping others and may be relieving some of their workload.

I now only go to campus when I have my Communication Studies Internship Seminars which is only about once a month. I feel very disconnected from campus which has been the biggest adjustment for me because I use to be more involved on campus. Being less involved and connected to campus is actually working out perfectly for my final semester at St. Cloud State. This change from being a full-time college student to being a full-time Intern, I believe is making for a great transition into the "real-world." This internship is the best way for me to have the hands on experience with the responsibility of working in a professional organization.

-Natasha

First update-March 25, 2009:

I would like to rewind for a second because I forgot to mention what initially impressed me about my Internship. After I received the internship as a Communications Intern at the health care organization, my soon-to-be supervisor organized a Sunday afternoon coffee meeting. She organized this meeting so that she could meet with her THREE spring interns. It was really great to not only meet with our supervisor, ask her questions, but it was really nice for us all to meet and get to know each other. The fact that our supervisor took the time to put together a meeting before we actually started really showed that her interns mean a lot to her and their department. I left the coffee meeting so excited to get started!

From the very first day, our supervisor assigned each intern a Communications Specialist to work with. The Communications Specialist that I was assigned to is the main person I report to. I absolutely love that we have been assigned a specific specialist because they know we are "their" intern. We work with our specialist on the events and projects that they work with.

On my second day at the health care organization I was to meet my Communications Specialist to conduct employee interviews. Believe it or not, she couldn’t make it on time so I had to do this interview ALL by myself! I was confident that I could get through the interview but it was definitely a new challenge. I knew I was not prepared enough to do it by myself but I had no choice. After it was over and done with the final project turned out really good.

In the beginning I enjoyed attending meetings the most. I found that observing everything was really intriguing. After the meetings I would reflect and think about how or if the meeting followed what I learned through classes. Meetings are a great way to experience the true dynamics of an organization and the work atmosphere.

I enjoy going to work each and every day. I look forward to new challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead of me as a Communications Intern.

- Natasha

Introduction-March 18, 2009:

Join me for an educational experience of a life time…  

My name is Natasha, and I am a fourth year senior at St. Cloud State University.  Cold Spring, Minnesota is my hometown, so choosing St. Cloud State was easy for me.  Not only is the college really close to my hometown, but the college was fairly familiar for me.  My older sister was a junior when I entered as a freshman, which was very comforting for me.  It didn’t take me long to find my place at SCSU because I involved myself while living on campus. Being involved on campus provided me with a lot of helpful resources.  I was exposed to many resources early on in my college career so I knew where to go as I progressed through my schooling.

Now, it is my senior year; I am preparing to graduate and enter into my next chapter of life. I will be graduating as an Interdepartmental Communication Studies major with an emphasis in Health. I entered college as a pre-nursing major because I thought Nursing was my calling.  In my sophomore year I began taking Communication courses and really enjoyed the classes.  I learned about the Interdepartmental Communication Studies major, which allowed me to major in Communication Studies and get an emphasis in health, and made the change with my major.

During the summer between my junior and senior year I decided that I needed to find an internship before I graduated.  I knew that the opportunity for experiential learning was going to be very important to increase my professional experience and to boost my resume.  I started looking by myself but quickly became overwhelmed with the searching process.  I then made an appointment to meet with Bobbi Murphy, Internship Coordinator, in the Career Services Center.  She helped me go from the overwhelming stage to giving me the tools to find the Internship that I wanted. There were some people that thought I was doing an internship too late, but it’s never too late to do an internship. I feel as though it will be the best experience you will get throughout your college career.  Being an intern is also very beneficial because you get you are working in the ‘real world,’ but because you are an intern, you are allowed to make mistakes and because the whole point of an internship is to learn, it is expected that you won’t know everything.

Currently, I am a Communications Intern for a local health care organization.  I received the best internship I could have ever wished for because it is in the health care industry, I work with great people, and most importantly I really enjoy what I am doing.  I work five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. but I usually get into work early and leave late. It is a great feeling to wake up in the morning and be excited to go to work. It has been a great transition for me from taking classes to having an internship where I report to work every day and not class. My biggest goal is to gain as much experience while gaining the confidence that I need to be successful.

- Natasha

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