Now that I’ve been at this internship for awhile, the things that used to stress me out don’t really bother me any more. I’ve got a handle on the shuttle system, I know where the bathroom and break room are, and I understand (for the most part) the office culture. I know what to say when I answer the phone (“Office of Strategic Communication, this is Miriam. How can I help you?”) and what to ask for (first and last name, phone number, email address, why are they calling, who do they want to speak to, are they on a deadline). I’m not phased by unusual requests or even angry callers. Having a system in place for nearly every contingency is one of my favorite aspects of working at the Brigham. I’ve gotten a good handle on how address the various challenges that come my way. Since I’m about halfway done with my work here, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned as I transition from nervous newbie to slightly-less-nervous intern.
- Communication: This is the Office of Strategic Communication, after all! Communicating effectively with members of the media and with coworkers and bosses has been key. It’s true: never be afraid to ask questions! Since I don’t always know exactly how things have been done in the past, I’ve found that it’s good to double-check about protocols and formatting for my projects. For example, I’m working on compiling media mentions of each department. I was originally organizing the blurbs by date only. Luckily, I checked with my supervisor and he told me he’d like the list organized by department as well as date. Those kinds of details are important, and I’ve learned that it’s always a good idea to double-check.
- Details: As I was just saying, details are super important! I like to think that I am a detail-oriented person, and that tendency has kicked into overdrive since starting this internship. For example, I now triple-check about using BCC vs. CC, including an email signature on all emails, and repeating phone numbers back to callers. Details really do make a difference! I’ve never regretted being thorough about details.
- Letting myself be comfortable: My office is very friendly, and one of the challenges of settling in has been finding the right balance between being friendly and chatty and being professional. It’s a balance that I think I’m striking, but it’s also something I haven’t really heard other people talk about—maybe because it’s so intuitive and setting-specific.
As I move forward into the second half of my time at BWH, I’m curious to see what other lessons and skills I’ll learn!