Written by Aisha Maabreh, Class or 2021
Godfrey teaches workshops for freshmen that provides crucial information and practical steps for finding internships. Godfrey tries daily to find new companies for us to work
with. He has Lunch meetings and other types of meetings with companies and also keeps the relationship with current mentors. We met him for a talk and advice on internships.
AM: What is Networking?
Networking is whom you know, family, friends, advisory members, teachers, and other’s advice is an important step to having a successful internship. The connections you
acquire at your internship and taking part in diverse internships can help you later on.
AM: Is ‘cold calling’ a successful strategy for getting internship?
Cold calling is encouraged (for experience) but doesn’t have a high success rate in getting an internship out of it. In some cases the internship site will not be able to accept you
themselves but might refer you another site.
AM: What is the importance of elevator speeches?
Elevator speeches are important because you never know when you’re going to run into an opportunity for an internship. The first impression is important, if you don’t know what to say and you start rambling it won’t create an impression of professionalism. Having a well versed elevator speech will help you look like you have your act together.
AM: Is it better to attend the same internship for half or a full year?
It’s best to try to stay in an internship for a full year and a great opportunity to branch out. In your first six months you are just getting comfortable and familiar with the work
environment. The real learnings and impact begins after.
AM: What’s the hardest part of finding an internship?
The tough part of finding something you’re interested in is to have the skill set to keep up. Ex: tech and medical world. They like it when someone has the specific skill set for it.
Age also plays a role in that. So in freshman and sophomore year, you should focus on building transferable skills through experiences. Then perhaps after that, bigger companies may see that you’re ready and provide you the opportunity for an internship.
AM: What is an important transferable skill?
Collaboration is an important transferable skill. Every company wants to know that you can collaborate with others. Even if you can do everything on your own, you need to
know how to deal with others. It creates a positive work environment. Dependability is another important skill. People need to be able to depend on you when you say you can
get something done. That way, people can trust you and assign you more challenging and rewarding tasks.
AM: If I don’t like my internship, what do I do?
If you don’t like your internship:
1) figure out what’s the one thing that you don’t like the most about your internship. Is it the people you work with? is it the work itself? Ask for something different. Talk candidly with your mentor and ask for guidance, like “I’m not feeling challenged”, or “I don’t enjoy the work I’m doing”, etc..
2) If it’s the people, you can’t change the people, give them more time. You can’t tell them to get out and still intern there. If you definitely cant make it work you might have to think about getting a new internship.
3) To change, talk to your Advisor and Godfrey. Even when leaving, leave it in a good way. Don’t leave with a bad attitude. The person can be a good reference, etc. Make sure to let them know beforehand.
AM: What helps me get a level-4 project?
The depth of your project comes with how well you reflect on things weekly. Not only the ones you do in advisory but a meaningful reflection. Ex: I had a challenging day, this is what I can do to fix it, or I tried my best, but I’m stuck.
Once you have a lot of info, your project can be presented in many different ways to make it special. If you can talk to people about your failures as much as your successes, it will be relatable and reliable. Making it relatable will give it the depth. A 4-level project will have troubles and how you dealt with it. Not just complaining, its when you can look back even at the simple things and ask the proper question, now you’re showing growth, and its measurable.
Your project doesn’t have to be physical. Your project depends on your internship. Some people work with animals, some in offices. Can your project be left behind, can the company use it (if they want to?) Did you leave the company in a better place than it used to be. Don’t come with a predetermined project. Take the time to come up with a project. See what’s needed.
The direction of the project can change too. It shouldn’t be a fixed idea. It should be based on weekly growth.
Focus on one of the transferable skills. Even if you don’t communicate well, and the internship isn’t something of interest, find a way to weave communication into the project. Or you can just show something that shows your dependability growth.
Show how you can grow out of your weaknesses, how you can be better.
Its good to have about 50-50 student growth and contribution to the company. Student growth is the primary focus. But your mentor knows that an intern isn’t only an assistant.
AM: What’s the difference between volunteer hours and internship hours?
You can’t get academic credit but you can get service hours from volunteering. However, internships are educational and you can’t get volunteer hours from internships. There’s a
clear distinction between both. you can’t double dip.
AM: Whom should I contact that knows a lot about internships?
Anyone in the school. The adults here (in Big Picture) who have been here for long, know where to start and how. You might be surprised by whom they know. And ask the older
students who have had internships before. They won’t sugarcoat it, the will tell you the plain truth, if its boring, if its difficult but also if its interesting and good for networking and for reference.