I’m incredibly lucky to have the mentor that I do right now for my internship. I’ve had a wide range of jobs before this internship — ranging from cashier to waitress to brand associate — so I’ve never exactly had a mentor, just bosses. Coming into this internship, I really thought that this was going to be the same type of relationship; I would be told to do something, I would do it, and I would learn from it.
While I am learning and gaining exceptional amounts of information and experience, the social aspect of this internship doesn’t particularly resemble that of what I have experienced in the work force. If anything, this internship feels kind of like a class, with my mentor as the professor. I have learned so much, from operations and analytics to editing and professional writing, and my mentor is to thank for that. Despite being in charge of a million and one different tasks in a day, she consistently takes time to answer my questions, direct and guide me, and still allows me the freedom to bring my own ideas and thoughts to this internship.
While her patience and guidance are greatly appreciated, there are a few qualities that I have noticed in her that make her such a wonderful mentor, and I now strive to adopt these characteristics. I respect her so much for her transparency in regards to thought processes and intent throughout this internship — she never tries to shield me from what she is thinking or phrase things differently from what she truly means. She is honest and clearly explains what she wants, from actual content to community involvement, and that makes it more efficient for me to do my job because I know what is expected of me.
I know sometimes it is hard for employers to discuss certain topics with employees, like when someone consistently makes a mistake and they don’t know how to address it. My mentor does not try to allude to anything — if I make a mistake, she tells me. If I do something well, she tells me. If she has a project she wants done in a certain way, or if she wants me to take it in my own direction, she tells me. I appreciate her honest demeanor, and I feel that is has allowed me to grow individually because I have been given the knowledge I need to be successful.
I also appreciate her encouragement for confidence. At the beginning of my internship, I specifically remember her saying, “If you have something to say, raise your voice and say it, even if your voice shakes.” I’ve never been in a work environment where expressing thoughts and ideas was so blatantly encouraged, especially for someone at an intern level. From that moment, I knew that she wanted to hear what I had to say — every suggestion, every idea, every challenge wasn’t supposed to be suppressed. I valued that encouragement from her, because it made me feel like I could own up to my potential and contribute my best, even though I was only an intern.
This experience has been so beneficial for me in regards to actual content exposure, but what I feel most strongly about are the personal characteristics I have noticed. I plan on being in a managerial position one day, and these qualities have made me feel welcomed and supported throughout my internship, and I hope I can make people feel the same way someday when I am in a similar position.