Light At The End Of The Tunnel

While in class, many of your assignments don’t have a real face behind them, they are made up clients or scenarios. At an internship you are doing real work for a real organization.

While in class, you may get an assignment back and see that you got a B on it. Not bad, right? You correct a few things if you can, but other than that, you’re pretty content. However, when you submit a press release at your internship, and your supervisor has highlighted almost everything and added and deleted parts you thought were great, it can be hard to swallow.

At first, I would go home and tell my support system, “I don’t know, I guess I picked the wrong major” and “I suck at public relations.”

But now, after four weeks, I realized something that put my worry at ease. I am new to this company. I am still learning the company’s voice, and the things that the company finds most important.

According to Alexandra Levit’s, she mentions in her book, “They Don’t Teach Corportate in College,” that there are as many different types of bosses as there are different types of people.

For almost three years I became accustomed to how the University graded my work. It wasn’t easy by any means at first. Freshmen year was a struggle for me. And this internship is no different.

One thing I’ve had to learn was my company’s preference with the use of en dashes.

For example changing,

The Los Angeles–London flight.
to
The Los Angeles – London flight.

They ask for spaces between the dash.

The other day, I submitted a press release for review and realized that I didn’t have to make a single edit for the dashes. That was a small victory for me.

So just remember, try not to let the transition period get you down. It takes time to figure out what a company likes and dislikes, so give yourself some slack. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Hannah Engle

 

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Relearning Public Transit

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I was born and raised in Portland, and took the bus to and from school almost every day in high school. That is, until I got my drivers license and completely forgot about the valuable resource that is public transit.

I am interning at a newspaper whose offices are located in downtown Portland, a place where the parking is hard to find and very expensive. Not to mention the hyper-vigilant parking cops eager to ticket a well-meaning driver for exceeding their parking meter expiration time by five minutes.

Upon learning I would be working downtown, I was worried about the parking situation. So, I decided not to drive. I took a page from 15-year-old Claire’s book and took public transit. A new MAX Orange Line stop had recently been installed near my house, so I was kind of excited to check it out.

I’ve been at my internship for nearly three weeks now, and I’ve taken public transit or biked to work every day. Not only has it made my commute cheaper (parking can be up to $15 a day or more downtown), it has given me a sense of independence and confidence. I can get around the city easily without needing to worry about traffic or parking.

I would highly recommend trying out the many different public transit options available in Portland. The combination of the MAX, the streetcar, and Trimet buses make it possible to get pretty much anywhere. Plus, you get bonus time to check email, stay updated on Twitter, and even write a blog post. I’m on the MAX crossing the Tilikum bridge right now.

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More Life

Moving to a new city for a job is a difficult process that can challenge people in any number of ways. Just the task of packing up and transporting belongings can be draining both physically and emotionally on it’s own, and there are far more steps.

For this internship program I moved from Eugene to Portland, which on paper sounds easy. The two cities are only about 100 miles apart, and are relatively similar when it comes to things like culture and weather. However, unlike many people in the Portland Senior Experience, I’ve never lived in Portland in my life. I didn’t move home, back to my old neighborhood, habits, and friend group. This has been a fresh start in many ways.

One of the main challenges in making this kind of transition is having a “life” outside of work. This has been an interesting challenge for me, since my internship was pretty much all I had when I got here. The good news is that the internship has been going very well; I’m learning every day and making great professional connections. The bad news is that the internship is at most 30 hours of my week; I have to fill the rest of that time so that I don’t go insane or turn into a hermit. Or both.

The thing that has had the biggest positive impact on my internship thus far has been enjoying life outside of the office. I’ve been exploring the city with my roommates, making new friends, and even playing in a local volleyball league. As much as I enjoy the freedom to focus heavily on my work, it’s easy to become burned out. With more “life” outside of work, I can bring a higher level of focus and productivity to my days in the office.

Moving to a new city can make finding this balance very difficult, but prioritizing it early on can pay huge dividends for months and even years to come.

Jackson Dulzo

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Tips for a Valuable Internship Experience

thomas-brault-15523I just completed the first week of my internship and I’ve received a lot of great advice on how to make the most of my experience. Here are some of my favorites!

Be confident

Personally, this is something I struggle with every day. This is common among students, especially those in creative fields because our work can always be improved and is rarely perfected. Remember that your internship site is excited to have you there and that you are there because you’re qualified and have skills they value.

Dress to impress

First, make sure that you are aware of the dress code. Whether your office has a casual or formal dress code, make sure that what you’re wearing is appropriate. The Balance makes a good point “just like all other employees, interns also represent the company’s image in how they dress and present themselves in the business environment to other workers, clients and customers.” As a rule of thumb, it’s always better to be overdressed than to be underdressed.

Practice self-care

Psychology Today states that one in four professionals have missed work because of stress.  Take necessary breaks, pack a snack and make sure you get enough rest. You will be able to put more into your internship when you take care of your mental and physical health. If you are in an office setting and work behind a desk, make sure you’re getting fresh air, stretching, and walking when you can.

 Network

Your internship is a great opportunity to build new relationships and hopefully land your dream job. Who knows you may meet someone working in the position you’re interested in or someone who has a connection to your dream job. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to somebody new every day.

Delbar Ehfad

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Take the Leap of Faith

When I first started my internship a little over 8 weeks ago, I remember feeling anxious, but ready. I was ready to take on the real world. I was ready to work hard and make a mark. I was ready to use my expertise to create a valuable experience, however, I was still anxious about the unknown. 

fakeittilyoumakeit-277x300Now, here I am. I only have a little over two weeks left at my internship and I still feel all the above. I feel well prepared for my next journey, but I still feel a little anxiety about what is going to happen next. I don’t only fear the unknown, but I also fear that I will fail at whatever I do next. According to Forbes.com, it’s human nature to fear failure and when we go outside of our comfort zone, we feel scared. However, there is one quote that keeps me going.

According to GenY Success, “the definition of courage isn’t about not being fearful, it’s about overcoming your fears.” Ever since I read that sentence for the first time, it dances around in my head at all times. It has inspired me to take a leap of faith  into the corporate world and take a risk on myself. Sure, I may not be the most qualified for the job, but I sure as hell will act like I am. Ever heard the phrase, “fake it ’til you make it?” I cannot tell you how many times I have been told, even from supervisors, this advice. And honestly, I do find it very true.

My point is, if you feel like you even have the slightest chance to get a job that seems out of your reach, don’t be afraid to go for it. And if you don’t know how to do something, learn it. Watch YouTube tutorials or read a book on it. Nothing should be able to stop you from being the most desirable candidate you can be. And if you don’t get that job, don’t let it discourage you from trying to get the next one. Take that leap of faith, it just might pay off.

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Balancing Work & the Holiday Season

I hope I am not alone when I say that just yesterday felt like the beginning of my internship and in the blink of an eye we’re suddenly halfway through November and quickly rolling into the holiday season and the end of our internships. For me that means earlier deadlines, hectic schedules and an increased workload. The holidays are already stressful enough for most people, but I sense that we are all especially strained because we have so little time left to make the most of our internships.tchcawn

As a native Portlander, my advice to you it to make time to enjoy the city while you’re still here. I may be biased, but I firmly belief that there is nothing quite like holidays in the PNW. While we may all have our sights narrowed on finishing our internships on a strong note, we should also take a break and cherish the opportunity we have been given to live in this one-of-a-kind city.

Here are some of my favorite Portland holiday traditions that you can enjoy during your last weeks in Portland!

  • Portland Christmas Tree Lighting: Forget Black Friday shopping- why fight crowds of people brawling over flatscreen TVs and iPhones when you could spend the day after Thanksgiving in downtown Portland to watch the annual lighting of the Christmas tree? Grab a warm drink and some friends and you’ve got yourself an experience that no door-buster prize can beat.
  • Peacock Lane: This tiny residential street in Southeast Portland is packed with people during December but for very good reason. Since the 1920s this quaint road has been known as one of the best places in the city to see christmas lights. Be forewarned: because of its popularity, traffic in the area is often a nightmare once the sun goes down. Check their calendar and go on a pedestrian-only night to save time and frustration!
  • Stumptown Santacon: Now I’ll admit that this one is a bit on the strange side but bear with me. I think we can all agree that Portland has a bit of a weird streak so it should come as no surprise that there is an annual event that brings together hundreds of people dressed up as Santa to enjoy a drink and celebrate the holiday season. Is it a Christmas bar crawl? Is it an excuse to dress up as Santa Claus in all his jolly goodness? Let’s just say it’s a little bit of both plus so much more.

More than anything, give yourself time to enjoy your last few weeks in this great city and take a break from workplace stress, even if that means donning a fake beard and gathering with a bunch of hipster Santas.

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Settling in to an office environment

I am not joking even a little bit when I say the hardest aspect thus far of my internship has been learning how to sit at a desk for a majority of the day. I am generally an active person, and always worked in active environments prior to starting my current internship. It’s a widely-known fact nowadays that sitting is one of the worst things for you, especially when it’s for multiple hours at a time. Trying to sit and produce work indoors for five to seven hours a day has been a difficult adjustment for me, and I found it useful to read over some of these tips to help my restlessness in the office:

achy-back

Image courtesy of Orion Group

Get up and walk:

I’ve found it helpful to take breaks and get up to walk around every hour or two, depending on my work load. Not only does this take my eyes away from my computer for a short amount of time, but it allows my body to reset to get ready for the work in front of me. Sometimes this break may be walking to the office canteen for some water, others it may be walking to a nearby lunch spot.

Take the stairs:

Although in my building the stairs are a little trickier to navigate, I welcome the opportunity to walk up or down them when I have to go in between floors during my work day. This gives me a less stagnant break and gets me moving.

Get a workout in before or after work:

This one is crucial to my well-being. I’ve found that if I get up and get active before going to work I feel much less restless at my desk. I also find my mind is clearer and I’m able to focus on my work much more efficiently.

Snack well:

I’m not going to lie, snacking throughout the day helps me stay focused probably more than anything else. However, I’ve also found it’s important to snack on the right things to feel good, including nuts, fruit, veggies, etc.

 

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