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An Intern's Experience - Melana

“What’s it like to work at LaSalle?” — the open-ended prompt for the blog posts us interns are supposed to write as a recap of our summer internship experiences. While the prompt seems simple, deciding what to write and how to write about it turned into a long process for me. In my very first draft, I misunderstood how I was supposed to format a blog post. In my second try, I used too formal of verbiage and lacked voice as a writer. When going back in a third time, I had writer’s block and needed help from those around me to even get the ball rolling. However, as soon as I got through all of those attempts and was sitting down to write my fourth (and hopefully last) first draft, I realized that my process of writing this blog post was actually somewhat reflective of what I’ve learned as an intern at LaSalle.

Coming into LaSalle, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I’d get out of my internship. Sure, I knew the basic responsibilities of the Training and Development Intern from the job description and what I’d been told in the interview, but no one really knows what you’re going to get out of a job until you’re actually in it. Just as I’d been formatting my blog post on the structure of formal papers I’ve been writing for the last three years at school, I’d based my expectations of my internship on experiences I’d already had or heard about from others. While I thought I’d be doing administrative work and research projects the vast majority of the time, I’ve also been observing training sessions, attending meetings, editing videos, and meeting people across the company!

As I’m taking on different tasks in my internship, I’m also developing different skills than I thought I would. Starting my internship, I’m happy I had good communication skills and a strong work ethic because they helped me start off on the right foot. However, my work as Training and Development Intern this summer has made me more enthusiastic to take on my senior year of college with a new skillset in analytical thinking and observation! Now, I’m better equipped as a learner in the classroom after critically thinking about learning from a new perspective: that of the instructor. Being able to think more deeply about how I’m learning rather than what I’m learning will help me learn more effectively. Additionally, Training and Development has shown me a type of learning that takes place beyond the structure of a formal education institution.

Though my initial use of formal wording and lack of voice in my blog post was also due to the many research papers I’ve written in college, it somewhat resembles how I thought I was supposed to present myself in the workplace. Obviously, you should be professional in the workplace, but since being at LaSalle, I’ve realized that professionalism in no way needs to limit the extent to which you can be yourself! LaSalle’s company culture promotes an environment where life doesn’t have to stop when work does, and as part of the Training and Development Team, I’ve seen first-hand how employees are encouraged to personalize their work methods. Thanks to LaSalle, I’ve learned that it is indeed possible to actively enjoy your job and be successful, most of which is attributed to the environment in which you work. Thus, looking forward, company culture will be a huge factor for me in considering any professional opportunity.

My writer’s block was cured by support from people around me, just as many problems are solved by working in a team. If you’ve ever heard the LaSalle company pitch, you’ve probably been told, “we have a team-based approach,” but I can attest that team-based approach extends further than staffing and recruiting. I have seen the entire company come together to welcome new hires, support colleagues going through hard times outside of work, celebrate work anniversaries, and bond through activities like softball and scavenger hunts. Before my internship, I had a good understanding of the importance of teamwork but had never seen how an overarching mentality of teamwork can impact such a large group of people. Each and every day, LaSallians are vulnerable with each other whether it be asking for additional training materials to improve themselves or going to a manager with something they did wrong; as someone who actively avoids being vulnerable in professional settings, I wish to develop that quality in myself, and I now have an entire network of people that can lead by example!

Just as I now know how to write a blog post, I now know what it means to be a LaSallian and am a few steps closer to knowing what I want out of a professional career.