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  • Claire Wolfe 5:14 pm on April 26, 2012 Permalink  

    Reflection 

    My internship is over and I would like to take a minute to reflect upon my semester as an intern and a blogger.

    The overall theme of my blog was lessons learned from my internship.  I can’t stress how much I learned this semester and how much I enjoyed my time interning.  I will always remember and appreciate this experience.  I have enjoyed writing about it and having the time to reflect while I was in the middle of it.  I’ve come to a lot of realizations this semester and if I can leave you with one thought, it would be this: take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown your way.  I know it’s easier said than done, and sometimes it seems impossible, but it will be worth it.  I’ve come to realize that having a positive attitude can lead to so many positive changes.

    So be happy, intern, work hard.  If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life, don’t sweat it, it will come together sooner than you think.

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  • Claire Wolfe 5:01 pm on April 26, 2012 Permalink  

    Asking for Advice 

    While trying to discover what I want to do with my life, I have realized how many resources are available to me.  The number of people who are available to provide advice are plenty, whether it is a professor, a supervisor, or a family member, they all have valuable information to offer.

    The advice that I got from my supervisor has stuck out the most to me.  My supervisor is a woman, so it means even more to me to be offered advice from a successful, professional woman who I look up to.  After explaining my confusion and uncertainty in taking the next step towards a career, she said that if there was one piece of advice she wished someone would have given her at my age it would be to set yourself up so that you can be your own boss, if all else fails.

    It’s definitely stuck with me and has made me think more and more about what I want to do. This kind of advice is so valuable to me and my future.  Take advantage of the advice you get and the time you spend with people who can give good advice.  This is the best kind of way to learn.

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  • Claire Wolfe 3:33 pm on April 26, 2012 Permalink  

    Making Friends? 

    At my internship, the room where all of the interns work is commonly referred to as the “intern cave.”  In other words, all of the interns sit together for 8 hours a day, in the same room, working.  What happens when you put a bunch of 20 something students in the same room?  Bonds are made.

    Going into this internship, I would have never expected to meet so many people, my age, that  I get along with so well.  But that is exactly what happened.  I’ve met so many students from various schools and various states.  It has been a really great experience being exposed to working with people who are from different backgrounds than me and who are used to different lifestyles.

    I’ve learned to go into every situation with an open mind because you never know who you are going to meet.  Maybe someone who will change your life.

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  • Claire Wolfe 3:21 pm on April 26, 2012 Permalink  

    To Network or Not to Network 

    I hate the idea of networking.  Talking to high-powered strangers, making a lasting impression in just a few minutes, and having the courage to approach someone who could be crucial to my future all make me, quite frankly, terrified.  That being said, the number of people who have told me that networking is key are plenty.

    “It’s all about who you know,” my dad used to say.  Growing up in a small town, I knew everyone.  In D.C., it’s just a little bit different.  The anonymity of the city is what I love about it, but it’s also what scares me most about being on my own.  During my internship this semester, I have been exposed to people who, otherwise, I would have never been around.  These people are so intelligent and so successful and so intimidating.

    When I came in at the beginning of the semester, I didn’t have the confidence to approach these people and introduce myself, to make them notice me.  But now, It’s different.  You have to realize that, even though they are terribly successful and intimidating, they are still just people.  After realizing this, I’ve decided that I don’t really like the word “networking” because, to me, it has a negative connotation.  I think of networking as talking to people for the sole purpose of having them, maybe, help me out some day.  From now on, i’m going to talk to them because i’m interested in learning more about them.  If they can help me, that’s great.  If not, what do I have to lose?

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  • Claire Wolfe 4:28 pm on April 20, 2012 Permalink  

    Just An Intern 

    Let’s be real, interning is not always fun.  There are tedious tasks and being unpaid and at the bottom of the chain is not always the most desired position to be in.  For me, fact checking has become the worst task that could be assigned and if I could go the rest of my life without navigating the Census Bureau website, I would be content.  It is easy to become disenchanted with the whole idea.

     That being said, the benefits of being an intern outweigh the negative aspects by so much.  Of course, the obvious benefit is that you gain valuable working experience and are exposed to a professional environment.  These aspects of my internship have been so beneficial, but I would say are not the most valuable to me.  From this internship, I have learned so much about myself, who I want to be, and what I want to do with my life.  I would argue that this kind of learning is just as important as learning skills you would need for a job.

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  • Claire Wolfe 3:25 pm on April 20, 2012 Permalink  

    Life In D.C. 

    Interning for the government is an incredible experience.  Although I think I may be better suited for the private sector, it has been an amazing experience to be on the inside and see how things work.  This internship has demonstrated everything that I expected my life in D.C. to be like.  From the political atmosphere and appointed officials to the morning commute and I.D. badge, this semester has been so “D.C.”.  I’ve met people who, if I wasn’t in D.C., I would never have had the opportunity to meet or hear speak.  Not to mention that I get to see theWashingtonMonumentevery time I have to work (something that I’m still awed by).  This internship has made me realize how great a city D.C. is and all of the opportunities that it offers.  Students in D.C. are truly so lucky and even though we may know not to stand on the left side of the metro escalator, I hope that we maintain a bit of the excitement that comes with visiting D.C. for the first time.

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  • Claire Wolfe 3:26 pm on April 3, 2012 Permalink
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    Improvisation 

    I only intern two days a week.  This leaves a lot of time in which I’m not in the office while the other interns are hard at work, working on projects and events that I may have no idea about.  I walked into the office last Tuesday and was told that there would be a press conference in an hour that I had no idea was occurring.  I also quickly realized that I would be responsible for signing in all of the visitors and providing them with answers to any questions they may have.  Immediately my heart began to race and my palms began to sweat. 

     I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t know anything about the press conference.

     Ten minutes later I found myself standing behind a table while men and women in suits came walking towards me.  I took a deep breath and smiled, deciding that I would do the best that I could with the information that I had.  I asked them to sign in and handed them the appropriate papers.  Honestly, there were questions asked that I didn’t know the answers to, but I (tried to) swiftly refer them to someone above me in the hierarchy. 

     After this stress, I was allowed to sit in on the press conference and listen to a few members of congress and the Director of the agency that I intern for speak.  It was honestly such a cool experience and probably one of the best moments of my internship.  In other words, it was totally worth the stress.  I find that it usually is.

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  • Claire Wolfe 5:35 pm on March 16, 2012 Permalink
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    A Couple Pieces of Advice 

    There are so many pieces of advice I could give about interning.  Let’s be real though, you’ve heard them all before.  Be professional, work hard, be on time, no complaints, the list goes on and on.  I’m not saying that all those things aren’t important, because they are, but you already know them.  These are things you’ve learned throughout your life, skills and rules that don’t only apply to interning, but to everyday living. 

     That being said, I only have two pieces of advice to give.  One is exclusive to interning and work, the other is a little broader.

    1. Always, always have a pen on you.  I know, my number one piece of advice is this.  What do I know?  It sounds dumb but I swear that it’s not.  Every time I talk to my supervisor, there is something that needs to be written down.  I am bombarded with so much information in just one conversation that I leave her office a nervous mess, unless I write it all down.  With my pen in hand, I’m cool, calm, and collected (well, as cool, calm, and collected as I ever am).  There is nothing scarier than having to go back to my supervisor’s office and ask her to repeat what she had just told me.  One time doing this is all that it took for me to realize how important it is to write everything down. Trust me on this one.
    2. So, this might be a little cliché, but still, it remains my second piece of advice.  Don’t be shy.  Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself or ask somehow how they are.  I don’t care if they are the boss or another intern.  I think it’s most important to remember that everyone is a person and, sure, they may be so intimidating, but you won’t get noticed unless you make an effort to.  They will be impressed if you take the initiative to introduce yourself.  Plus, you never know who you are going to meet.  Maybe someone who will change your life.  Whether it is someone who could land you a job someday, a new friend, or simply a friendly face to say hi to as you pass in the hallway.  Bottom line, you never know.  What do you have to lose?
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  • Claire Wolfe 6:11 pm on March 6, 2012 Permalink
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    Live, Learn, and Intern 

    After a lot of confusion, stress, and heart-to-hearts with various friends and family members, I declared my major at the end of last semester.  I decided to set my sights on a B.S. in Economics.  I really enjoy learning about economics and the information is so relevant to every day life, so I figured that it would be a good fit for me.  Plus, I’ve always secretly wanted to be a high-powered CFO and this track could lead me in the right direction. 

    I should probably mention that I seriously considered a broad range of other subjects before settling on economics.  These include, but are not limited to, anthropology, psychology, biology, and business administration.  To say the least, I’m a little bit indecisive.  To make it worse, I have no idea what I want to do with my life.  Declaring my major, I thought, would put me one step closer to figuring it out.  At the beginning of this semester, I was beyond excited to start my internship and, hopefully, really enjoy my work.

    Internships give you a real-life experience.  You may not be doing really intense work, but working in the same office as people with power, waking up early, and being in a professional setting make any internship a valuable experience.  You learn so much, about the work and about yourself.  At my internship, I’ve realized that this really isn’t something that I would want to do for the rest of my life.  I’m not really interested in working at a desk or in front of a computer every day and I really don’t like math very much.  These are realizations that, sure, may put me back a little further while figuring out what I want to do, but make me a little more confident that what I end up doing will be the best for me.  This internship is a great experience for me and I truly value the opportunity.  Maybe it will help me find what I really do like to do.  Fingers crossed.

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    • Francine Blume 4:55 pm on March 7, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Did an internship help you decide on your major? I have to say that the cool thing about economics is that you can study the economics of anything. You will be an expert and you will be highly desired. You can absolutely integrate economics and an apology because anthropology is the study of culture and our culture decides what’s of value. There’s a huge amount of psychology that goes and economics, again understanding why people value something and what moves. Consumer confidence, etc. Biology is a huge field and the economic implications of biological research are even bigger a solid business administrator really needs to understand economics in order to see their place in the world.

  • Claire Wolfe 4:38 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink
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    Finding My Way Out 

    It wasn’t like it was my first day or anything; I should have known how to get out of the building. But there are so many elevators and I wasn’t thinking, so I absentmindedly took the one closest. I pressed 1 and soon found myself in a corridor that I had never seen before where all of the doors read, “emergency exit”. I began to walk, trying to look as confident and professional as possible, passing busy employees in finely pressed suits. Ahead of me was the security desk and two doorways out. I smiled at the security guard and made my way for the door straight ahead of me. When I pushed the door open, the alarm immediately sounded. In shock, I stood there for a moment, then closed the door and retreated back into the building. The alarm immediately stopped. When I turned around, the guard was pointing to the other set of doors with a grin on his face. I don’t know if my cheeks have ever been redder.

    For a moment, I was so upset and realized that there was no way I could go back after that embarrassment (I’ve been known to be a bit dramatic). Then I began to laugh to myself. I’m sure I wasn’t the first, and I know I won’t be the last to get lost in the Department of Commerce. I’m an intern and so nervous about working there but I realized that I can’t sweat the small stuff.  If getting lost is the worst thing that happens this semester, then i’ll consider myself lucky.  Besides, at least I know which elevator to take now.

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