Time to respond to another prompt, and it goes like this:
” As your summer internship comes to a close, please describe the top three skills you have learned throughout your work, and how you plan to improve on those skills prior to entering the workforce after graduation (course work, future internships, etc.)? Please also reflect on the challenges you have had at your internship, and how you overcame those.”
The top three skills I have learned are:
(I’m not sure if the prompt is referring to specific technical skills, or general life skills, but I didn’t learn any new specific technical skills, so I’m going to go with general life skills.)
1. My Internship has been largely self directed. I get assigned general projects, then it’s up to me to decide what the project is going to look like, the best method for completing it, and actually finishing the project. Most of the time at school, the projects you get are already heavily outlined, and you know what the end product is going to look like before you start. Professors have databases, books, references, formats that you should use. Those safeties were largely taken away from me this summer, and I had to re-create them for myself. At first this was intimidating, and a bit overwhelming; however, this independence gives me the freedom to make my work important to me. For example, Rachael asked me to research different water purification systems, and compare them with a metrics system. I completed that, but at the same time I made it into graphs and charts and complied it into a scientific article.
I plan to improve on my ability to work independently by looking for opportunities to lead projects. I am currently involved with the DePauw Environmental Club, the DePauw Outdoor Club, and DePauw Campus Cat Allies, and an Environmental fellow. I plan to use these existing connections to lead projects and complete independent work, as well as look for internships that will allow me to do this as well.
2. My internship has also taught me to persevere. The area that we are working in is largely isolated and ignored by popular media. Therefore, I often hit roadblocks in my research and projects where information did not exist or was extremely difficult to find. It often would have been easy to give up, and say that the projects or research couldn’t be finished; however, real people would benefit from the completion of my projects, which pushed me to try different avenues and renew my efforts. This often, but not always, resulted in success. Therefore, I learned what to do to keep myself going, to achieve success, when defeat seems imminent.
I plan to improve upon this skill by continuing to persevere. I will always try again, exhaust every outlet before laying down my sword.
3. Lastly, my internship taught me Ingenuity. Ingenuity is defined as “the quality of being clever, original, and inventive”. Like I said before, the area we are working in is largely ignored and isolated, so much of the work/ research/ projects we are doing are unprecedented. Water purification is tricky because much of it relies heavily on the environment and the specifics of the area where the system will go. Therefore, we had examples from other water systems that have been implemented all over the world; however, we had to incorporate the specifics of our villages and area. Therefore, we had to be creative and inventive in our work.
I plant to improve upon my ingenuity by working to tackle difficult problems instead of avoid them. I will look for projects nobody else wants to do, take an internship that will be challenging.
My biggest challenges were with my research. Having a good research method is immensely important. At the beginning of the summer it was difficult for me to find the information I was looking for because it was obscure. After exercising my independence, and persevering with ingenuity I discovered the best ways to find the information I needed.