SLUPIC: Personal and Career Development

by Winsome Toroitich

2017

It is the last week of the SLUPIC internship. As much as I am happy to move on to my next adventure in life, I am saddened that I will be leaving St. Lawrence; a place that I have called home for the last three years. Before I close this chapter of my life, I would like to share few lessons that I have gained for the last two months of my internship.

First, open-mindedness is pivotal to any team or working environment.  Being open-minded does not only include being ready whatever situation comes along but also being ready to admit that you made a mistake. Fear arises when one does not know the consequences of their action. However, the earlier one admits a mistake the easier it is to fix a problem or finding an alternative solution. Another aspect of open-mindedness involves accepting an unexpected outcome. Remember the project I lamented about in my first blog? Yeah, I have had more tasking projects that my team and I were not able to see through due to unforeseeable external barriers. Communication plays a huge role in an environment that demands open mindedness. Communicating challenges as well as progress enabled my teammate and me to determine whether a project was worth investing more time or not.

Talking about alternatives brings me to my second lesson; always have a backup plan and if possible have a backup plan for your backup plan. As a case in point, consider how during a class it is easier to ask a professor for a few minutes to run and pick a copy of a presentation that might not be working on a school computer. However, a similar ‘lack of preparation’ at the work place might cost you and your team time and money. It never costs much to over-prepare.

Career advisers emphasize establishing a good relationship with one’s coworkers. However, some individuals tend to change who they are in order to be liked at the work place. During the first weeks, I was worried about blending in and connecting with other people at the Chamber. However, over time, I have come to know more about these people and their interests unselfconsciously. Getting along with coworkers is made possible, and authentic work place relations develop when both parties are genuine.  Be real and get to know people!

I recommend SLUPIC to individuals who want to start their experience as early as the summer after freshmen year. The internship experience sharpens one’s attention to detail and introduces her/him to work place etiquette. For those who have some work experience under their belt, the internship immerses you in variety of projects whereby you gain skills that are vital in any career path. Why SLUPIC you ask? An opportunity to spend your summer on campus and enjoy the greenery that Canton offers, learn more about the County, make new friends and gain long term career skills!