JANE EVANS on the value of a summer internship
On day two of my internship my new boss asked me why I was sitting at his desk reading his emails…
As if working as an intern at in Consultancy at Deloitte wasn’t daunting enough, the concept of ‘Hot Desks’ was thrown into the equation. The fact I didn’t have a permanent desk again was clearly a concept I found difficult to grasp. However, I cottoned on when I sat down at my boss’s desk, thinking it was my own, and started reading through his confidential emails wondering how my inbox had changed so much in the time it had taken for me to get a coffee. It wasn’t exactly the first impression I was hoping for.
I was also faced with an awkward moment on my first day when I had to admit I’d never heard of an Excel Pivot Table, and when I was given a confidential project and told that I’d be fired if I told anyone who the client is… This was clearly a struggle given that I have a tendency to blurt things out!
My second internship was with the John Lewis Retail Management Scheme. I had a strangely fun 6 weeks, mostly due to working with a hilarious group of people, and getting comical customers. I once spent 15 minutes with a Japanese man who spoke very little English explaining the anatomy of a chocolate truffle which is funny in hindsight, especially as I eventually discovered that he was trying to find a chocolate that wouldn’t melt in Japan!
Before coming to Durham, the concept of internships was alien to me. I’d never even heard of Deloitte! But I jumped onto the internship bandwagon, partly because I had no idea what to do with my life post-university. Whilst I didn’t find the dream career I was hoping for, it gave me a much clearer idea of what I am looking for, and where my skills and interests lie. This is completely invaluable, and it highlighted the age-old ‘you can never be sure until you try’ philosophy.
Other than the odd, shameful moment that will inevitably come from any new experience, my 11 weeks of internships this summer proved to be an incredibly worthwhile experience, albeit daunting at times. Whilst job hunting may appear to be a tedious process of elimination at times, I believe any work experience can point you in the right direction. This summer has proven to me that it is certainly worth filling out the countless and tiresome applications, as at least it will hopefully clarify what you are looking for. And if all else fails, it’s an added extra for your CV and at least you’ve got a bit of money in the bank to pay for the next years worth of Quaddies in Klute.