I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What have you learned?” in the last five weeks. I’m unsure if it’s the question to ask every intern or If I’m the lucky chosen one.
At first, I stumbled my way through. There were lots of “ums” and “it’s been fun!” and honestly, a useless array of words that only impartially captured my extremely challenging and fulfilling internship at one of the greatest companies in the world.
General Motors has allowed me to be involved in anything I ask for. Future interns, take note: ask to help out in any and every project possible. I feel as if I’m at the ‘human sponge’ point in my career. Every event, every acronym, every procedure and every standardized work practice is completely new to me. The reply I’d like to give would be, “I’m learning everything”. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the most ideal answer and certainly not the one that’s going to propel me further.
I’ve developed a few pointers to make sure the next time I’m asked this, (most likely in the next hour) I can answer it with complete confidence.
1. Create a journal entry after each experience or event. Create a list of things you liked and disliked. Be sure to add why.
2. During the event, write down anything that surprises you. If you’re at a conference, try to have a few of these things in the back of your mind so when the time comes to socialize, you have something to talk about.
3. Practice the sentence below and memorize it to a fault. When new experiences come along, reshape it and allow it to evolve.
“I’ve really enjoyed learning _______________. I’ve been (insert the last few projects you’ve been working on) and I was surprised at __________________.(Smile).
If they ask for something you didn’t like, be honest but stay professional. Try to counter balance the negative with a positive.
That’s all for now. I’m half way through my internship and I’m loving all the difference facets of the business I’ve been able to be involved in. I’ve helped out with labor negotiations, plant investment announcements and have been writing internal and external news stories for the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. I was immediately surprised at how friendly and helpful everyone is and I’m looking forward to working alongside the other communications interns to plan and execute a ride & drive scavenger hunt throughout the city of Detroit.
See what I did there 😉