Editor in Chief
For my third term of my final year of high school, I decided to take an internship at New England Water Works Association, not knowing what to expect. As a senior, I did not think much of it, just another elective on my transcript. What I found was that for about two hours everyday, I was no longer a high school student.
The internship consisted of what I considered to be normal, day to day business activities, such as networking, letter writing, filing, contact-list making, emailing, and a nearly overwhelming amount of Excel exposure. I enjoyed doing this in my day to day time at Water Works, but did not really understand how it all came together.
Finally, in the last week of my internship, the conference that all of my work was going toward was upon us, and I was able to attend as a representative of NEWWA, (with an appropriately filled out field trip form of course). At the conference I joined right in with my ‘coworkers’, and began registering exhibitors and attendees and giving them their name tags, answering questions I in truth knew next to nothing about, and really getting a feel for the communication end of the industry. My mentor, Iseult, was very surprised at how easily I assimilated into the conference swing of things, and how I was immediately accepted by the rest of the employees (who even began to ask me questions), as well as the exhibitors and attendees.
I ended up staying at the conference until it ended, missing a concert I was supposed to attend with my friends, because I was having fun; imagine that, fun at a school affiliated internship. The director of NEWWA, and my mentor’s boss, even took the time to show me around the exhibit hall and lecture centers, introducing me to water and utility professionals, who later all ended up adding me on Linked In. The director, Ray, even ended up offering me a job over the summer at NEWWA, and to help run an even larger conference in Boston this summer.
I can’t really explain how much my internship meant to me. It allowed me to see all aspects of the industry I’m interested in, including business, marketing, sales, networking, event planning, and travel. This really reassured me that I was on the right track, as I will be moving to England next year to study business and marketing. As far as balancing personal, professional, and academic responsibilities, I think I began to value my work and time at NEWWA more than my other responsibilities because it seemed more real, important, and noteworthy. I value everything I learned at NEWWA, from simple Excel tricks Iseult taught me, to business writing skills as well as networking skills (also skills like calming down self righteous businessmen, when we seemed to have misplaced their name tag because they never registered for the conference in the first place).
As far as learning from mistakes go, in retrospect I learned that editing and re-checking work is very important, and in the future I should do this more often (after all, nobody wants their name misspelled on their name tag).
The internship itself was a positive experience, and from it I gained a reassured outlook on my future, new industry related skills, and on a more concrete note a possible job opportunity over the summer. I was welcomed by not only my mentor, but also by the entirety of NEWWA. I think that every senior should consider an internship because it offers experience related to what you’re interested in, as well as having the possibility to open your eyes to what you didn’t even know was out there (plus, you get to leave school, duh). For me, my internship provided me with a plethora of experience and tools for university, as well as gave me the confidence to step boldly into my future.