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What You Can Learn in One Summer

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Carrie Markel

Summer always seems to go by too quickly, and my time as an intern at El Pomar has been no different. An internship is meant to be a small dip into the working world, but with El Pomar there came something more: the chance to be fully immersed in a wide variety of experiences and opportunities.

While 14 weeks certainly doesn’t seem like it might go by in a flash, it does, and I am stunned in the ways I have grown – as a businesswoman, coworker, and human being –  in such a small window of time. Talking to my fellow interns, I know they feel the same way, and we are all going back to our respective universities and colleges as different people than we were when we arrived at El Pomar in May.

There are tangible ways to pinpoint those changes: you can see it in how we now compose emails, talk on the phone, speak to an audience, effectively multi-task simultaneous projects, and even in the way we dress. We were not able to roll out of bed and just run to class like we can at school. But there are also subtle changes that came from an increased responsibility not always experienced while at college. Namely, our studies as college students do not impact the entire state of Colorado – our work here does. Being an intern at El Pomar forced a greater self-recognition of my work, knowing it was not solely about me but, on some level, thousands of Coloradans.

This might seem like a heavy burden, especially for a 21-year old, but at the end of August I can walk back to a classroom and college life a more mature, self-aware, and responsible adult. That is not to say that the internship was not full of fun and creativity; lunches and weekly intern meetings were times I will never forget. A bond formed between the interns that went beyond work.

In any case, I learned some things I will also not be able to forget, both because of their importance in future careers and also, in general, growing up:

1.      Proofread everything, even if it’s a note to yourself

2.      Manage up: let your supervisor know what’s going on, how you are doing, and ask any questions you might have

3.      Take pride in your appearance: people tend to treat you better when you first know how to respect yourself

4.      Eat breakfast before going to work: you will be able to focus on that spreadsheet you’re creating rather than the four hours remaining until lunch

5.      Break for 10 minutes: go to the water cooler, stand up and walk around, and just let your mind relax before digging back in

6.      Take initiative: finish projects you are given, but go the extra mile to perfect details, even ones not specifically mentioned by your supervisor

While these takeaways look simple, implementing them in an office setting proved different than anything I had experienced. It has truly been a summer unlike any other.