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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection – Part 3

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributors!  This month, they are completing their summer internships.  Their final post is a reflection on self discovery and experience as interns.  Therefore, I am giving them their own space to share what they learned about themselves and the skills developed during their internships.  Read their reflections in a 3-part series – Diary of an Intern:  Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s learn what Rachel discovered about herself and the experience in Senator Burr’s office in Washington, D.C.

Rachel LordLooking back on my internship, I could not have asked for a better experience on The Hill this summer. I have met wonderful people who have been supportive and helpful in my personal and professional development. Overall, my time in D.C. has prompted me to realize how capable I am of entering the working world, exceeding expectations, and positively contributing to an office.

After working in two different offices with disparate characteristics, I know I can excel in many professional environments based on positive feedback I have received. I also discovered that I am continually learning from others and from my own curiosity. Education does not end with a diploma, and I have experienced the benefits of keeping up with current events and reading analytical reports in my fields of interest. Listening and observing have also served me well as the small details can aid in making a personal connection, or ensure a long spreadsheet is correct.

On a personal level, I have discovered I can manage working full time while taking classes and engaging in the D.C. community through volunteering. When I graduate in December and enter the working world, I feel prepared to engage in the workplace as well as involve myself in activities that contribute to my energy levels and productive lifestyle. For example, I often met with friends to run after work or to visit one of the many museums filled with American history. Over the past eight months, I have come to know D.C. as home and have enjoyed living in the city filled with people aspiring to make a positive impact on society.

Because I have been in both the private sector and the public sphere, I am now able to compare the two environments. I see how the work differs, how it overlaps, and how the two sectors work together. In my future position after graduation, I will incorporate the skills I have gained and improved into many of my office practices. For example, I will continue to think strategically and anticipate additional information needed by my supervisor.

After eight months of interning, I would offer a few pieces of advice for those looking to have a great work experience. The first would be to master the art of timing. Each person has different priorities in the office. Recognizing this is important in order to find the right time to ask a question or present work. On the other hand, when a supervisor has an urgent task, it is important to prioritize and act accordingly. The other piece of advice came from a D.C. mentor who said to be open and honest in personal and professional capacities. This applies not only to being open when considering the ideas of others, but also being open to sharing your ideas and having a dialogue about them.

Knowing I have communicated and worked well with others, solved problems, and analyzed situations, I will enter my future job position with confidence and eagerness to effectively contribute to my colleagues and organization. I will continue to use the skills I have built and work to improve upon them by asking for feedback from supervisors and mentors.

Thanks for reading!

~Rachel Lord, ’13 – Politics and International Affairs Major and History and Entrepreneurship Minors

Intern at the office of Senator Richard Burr

Category: Professional Development

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