Junior year of college rolls around and becoming an adult becomes more and more of a reality. It’s time to begin searching for an internship that will be a good fit for you. But what exactly does this mean? To me, it means finding the internship that fits perfectly in the mold in which you learn.
HOW I FOUND MY INTERNSHIP When I started my search, I knew I could not intern in a large and high stress office—I wanted a place to grow. I asked a lot of questions about internships, such as: Will I be heard in this internship? After this internship is over, what will I take with me? How will this internship contribute to my future? Would the experience help me get a job later?
I also always had an interest in work that helps others. So I committed myself to finding an internship that would allow me to be part of something bigger than myself. I checked out my university’s career center for ideas and positions. (This is a great resource that every student should use!) I also checked out Friendswithquinn.com to see if they had any opportunities.
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) was one of my top choices. NCLD has such a commitment and message that they stick by. I inquired about an internship and when I received a phone call from NCLD confirming an interest for an intern, I knew I had to be part of the team. Working in an atmosphere with such driven people gives me such an exciting hope for my future career.
HOW I SUCCEED IN MY INTERSHIP Finding an internship is only half the battle. You also have to do well in your internship. That can be a challenge, especially if you have a learning or attention issue.
Dyslexia is something I never let define me, but was a part of me. It took me time to learn the best way for me to communicate my needs in the workplace, which was that I just needed information directed to me in a way in which I would fully understand. A strategy that I began to use was repeating back to my boss what was asked of me, so that I knew we were on the same page. This ultimately helped clarify information in a professional and timely manner. It is helpful to remember that human perfection is not a reality; people need to be okay with the idea that they have faults.
Learning does not end when you leave the classroom—it follows you into your workplace. In fact, each day you will go to your place of work, and will ultimately be asked to do something out of your comfort zone. Understand how you personally engage in learning, then you will be more likely to master the task placed before you.
Thanks to my internships, I have learned an important lesson in life. I now have a sturdy grasp on how I learn, grasp and master in a work environment. Understanding your mold can be an asset to finding more internships and even a job.
Hannah is in her third year of college at New York Institute of Technology, where she is majoring in Psychology and Humanities. She is also a development intern at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.