Daily Winner for: – 28th July 2012
Name of the intern: – Priyanka
Institute: – Ramjas College, University of Delhi
Organization interned with: – Bank of America
It was 14th Feb, 2005, my first day as an intern. As I walked into the office for my internship I was aghast to see red heart shaped balloons, red roses and chocolates on each desk. I rechecked to confirm if this was the same MNC bank that I had been interviewed with. I expected Monday morning tensions, energy, stress et al. But, definitely not Valentine’s Day celebrations! So that is how my internship began, not too bad actually. I was a fresh graduate in Economics honours from one of the best universities in India and, well, had a mountain-size chip on my shoulder. My plan was to work exceptionally hard and dazzle the company with my performance and ultimately land a permanent placement with the bank. There was just one problem, though: the plan seemed a lot easier in my head than in reality. I had to lose my chip first, which seemed like a herculean task then. My immediate team had a very diverse mix of people, comprising a rather older age group, with mixed backgrounds, culture and different mindsets. These were the people that I had to work with for six months, and most importantly, learn from. And of course my attitude did not help. My bohemian, straight-from-college-I-don’t-care attitude rubbed my colleagues the wrong way. People were quick to judge me, some even took wagers on how long I would last. Honestly, I wondered so too. Even though I picked the work within a week’s time, my colleagues did not warm up to me for over 2 months.
I learned to not be Miss Snooty but I still had trouble finding company for lunch. I was miserable and lonely. And then it happened! My boss requested me to help in organizing a birthday celebration for a colleague in office. Having a special qualification (non-certified, of course) in organizing parties it wasn’t difficult for me to rise to the occasion. And just like that, over snacks and colas, I finally managed to break the ice with my colleagues. The rest of my internship was rather smooth. I made great friends and learnt some valuable lessons in life. Looking back, I think part of the reason why my colleagues disliked me was because of the fearless courage and hope of the youth that I carried with me. I reminded them of what it was like to be young and so free. Had I been more intuitive then, I would have identified the real problem sooner. Great lessons in life are learnt from living them. Those six months of internship taught me new lessons in humility. I learnt to respect people who had different opinions. And more importantly, I learnt to differentiate content from flak. In many ways the first internship is like a rite of passage, coming of age etc. In a span of six months I lost my rough edges and ahem, ” yuppiness”. I learnt to be a professional.
As Steve Jobs said, “You cannot join the dots looking forward, you can only join the dots looking backward.” I wouldn’t be the person that I am today had I not taken back some hard hitting lessons from my first internship.
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