To Summarize… Top 5 things I learned during my internship experience


Internships are all about new experiences, sometimes they require water and a new friend!

The end is almost nigh and many of us have been contemplating graduation, job searches, and how to avoid having to move back in with our parents. (I’m contemplating REALLY hard on that last one.) Before I get overwhelmed by the post-collegiate era hurtling toward me, I want acknowledge what I’ve learned these last three months.

1.  Geography

Until I started my internship, I didn’t realize that wine is all about geography. I mean, I had a general sense that it played an important role, but now I realize it might have been a good idea to take Geography 101. Wine is all about place.

2.  Microsoft Access

I’d never thought about database programs such as Microsoft Access and Excel as key tools for journalism, but they’re very useful. Throughout my internship, I’ve used Access to keep track of all the wine coming in and being tasted. Excel has been incredibly useful for organizing and summarizing notes gathered for the future issue on terroir.

3.  Urban Survival Skills

I’m a country kid from Oregon, okay. Things like mass transit, the perils of high heels on uneven sidewalks, and how to negotiate a city grid with confidence were new to me. I remember how nervous I was the first day I rode BART into the city. Now, I can spend a day independently exploring the city with no qualms, and I always carry my flip-flops for the commute.

4.  How to Change a Tire

The third week of my internship, I got up early to hit the gym and walked out to find my rear tire completely flat. I managed to stay calm while I waited for AAA to send help, which ended up being a female mechanic in pink boots who taught me how to change a tire. I didn’t make it to the gym, but I wasn’t late to work. My dad would call this a “formative” experience.

5.  How to Sell Myself

I’ve had the good fortune to work for the same company for the last five years. It’s been so comforting to know I had a job every summer. But it’s also meant that I’ve never had to “sell myself” to a potential employer. Figuring out how to do this successfully on paper and in-person has given me a great confidence boost.

At the end of this experience, I realize I’ve learned some geography, mastered the art of the database, become one with the urban natives, figured out where my spare tire lives, and found out I am, quite possibly, employable. Not too shabby for three months, huh?

~ Anneka Miller

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13 Responses to To Summarize… Top 5 things I learned during my internship experience

  1. wilsonemily says:

    Thanks for the tips! I think all us interns can benefit from well-learned lessons on the job (mine would be learning how to use a copy machine…it’s really not as easy as it seems sometimes and NO ONE teaches you that in a classroom!). Getting out of your comfort zone seems to be something you’ve mastered; it may not always be easy to do, but pushing your limits is what you have to do to succeed. Congrats on navigating the city, your internship and paving the way for your future career! Loved the blog post!

  2. zolfaghari says:

    I hear what you’re saying about the city being a big transition. Even though I was born and raised right outside of Portland (Beaverton), I never truly understood what “city life” was like until I went to Portland State for the first two years of college. It was vastly different and often intimidating at times. But that’s where the biggest rewards can be found: when you’ve overcome and become comfortable with obstacles that once seemed daunting. Very happy to hear that your experience here was one full of constant learning!

  3. kingram10 says:

    I think being able to accurately reflect on your experiences, and to know what you took away is a very beneficial quality! These last three months have been such a fast learning curve for all of us, but it sounds like you handled it all with grace and a good attitude!! Good luck on your future endeavors. It sounds like you’ll go far!

  4. I’m glad you made it to work on time that day your tire went flat! I’d be so freaked out. It seems like you really adjusted well, which is a hard task. I hope you take those new lessons with you to your next job, being able to adapt and react is an invaluable skill. Cheers (with wine) to you on the end of your internship!

  5. So happy you called out using Microsoft programs because for 4 years i have been doing everything on a MAC and not until this internship did I realize how vital PC and Microsoft software skills are. Sounds like you had an amazing internship and I think all the things you learned showed how you were able to adapt and be successful in the different challenges you faced in your internship (now I feel like I should know how to change a tire).And I wish you the best of luck with finding a well paying job so that you don’t have to move back in with your parents!

  6. jamesynwa says:

    This list is a great combination of practical and professional advice. As a young pro in the workforce, it really takes both types of knowledge to succeed. After all, if you can’t navigate the daily commute or solve the small problems on-the-go, you’ll run into serious trouble when faced with a long day at the office. It’s great that you’ve learned so much in this short period of time – you must be feeling very optimistic about what awaits you in the post-college world!

  7. michelletag says:

    I really liked tip number 3! I still have zero skills in how to navigate my way around big cities. Portland still scares me! But, I think that can relate to the bigger picture, you just need to put yourself out there and kind of figure things out on your own. That’s kind of how graduating college is too, it’s our time to figure things out how we want and when we want to. Sounds like you took full advantage of your time at your internship. Good luck, Anneka!

  8. agavette says:

    I could really relate to your tip #3 about getting comfortable with using urban public transportation. One of my friends just returned home (to a suburb in SE Portland) from graduating from her east coast university and we had to meet downtown right after I got off work to go somewhere, and she was really uncomfortable with riding the MAX into town to meet me–the people, the system and the overall environment. I’ve started to feel super comfortable with it (since I ride the whole green line into work) and was really surprised at her. But it just shows how much we grow in ways that we might not even notice. Good for you for acknowledging what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed for the better!

  9. codynewton says:

    Those all sounds like very important skills to have. Especially changing a tire. . . I think for those of us that aren’t from the Portland area, being put in a new situation thats odd and possibly uncomfortable has been very important to our education. That’s not to say the people that are from here didn’t learn as much, but I think it’s important for people to experience new and possibly uncomfortable situations. We got a very well rounded education over the last three months. Congrats to us all!

  10. shannonkluss says:

    I love that your list of things you’ve learned is completely unexpected but also completely spot on! Our internships have been huge growing experiences for us, not just professionally but also internally. This is a major transition time for us all, and it sounds like you’ve picked up some life lessons (particularly the tire change!).

  11. PDXSX says:

    Good job, Anneka! You figured it all out on your own!

    ~J

  12. shannonsloan says:

    Not to shabby at all! It sounds like you have had a well rounded experience. I completely agree with you about Microsoft programs. I’ve been able to manage Excel, however, this term has made me realize that mastering these programs can mae a variety of projects much easier. Hope you can figure out a way to avoid moving back in with your parents.

  13. Bree says:

    I really enjoyed your post! I can relate to a lot of it. Just moving back to Portland this term has helped me discover new things about myself. I was born and raised here and I’m just learning Portland’s geography. Before this term, I had driven downtown twice before. I now feel so comfortable navigating around all of Portland (with my TomTom, of course). I also realized that I wouldn’t mind living here in the future. I thought I wanted to run off to L.A. and live the fab (warm) life, but I guess Portland isn’t so bad after all.

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