Lessons from My Sisters: Three Qualities Every Intern Should Possess

 In General

Abigail (far left) with her sisters

I’m an intern who falls along the lines of having “little to no professional experience” when answering a survey, which made it challenging to figure out what to write about when invited to write this blog post. I did not want to write another thesis on Descartes’ Meditations and I will not show you the rules of differentiating logarithms (it’s painful), so I will offer some personal insights instead.

I’m the oldest of four incredibly different, yet similar girls (often referred to as Sister Sledge). As the eldest, I have grown up surrounded by powerful female influencers. Although younger than I am, my sisters have always served as my role models. With them by my side, I have developed valuable traits such as flexibility, responsibility, and the empathy necessary to thrive in a professional environment. In turn I have learned the value of and refined these qualities through my time as an intern at LRG.

Flexibility:

As someone who loves adhering to a schedule, the ability to be flexible has not come easily to me. However, having to plan around my three other sisters’ schedules has compelled me to adapt when plans fall through or circumstances require adjustment. Being flexible has helped me embrace change and welcome the opportunity to improve solutions or adjust to new goals when the need arises.

One of my first large projects at LRG involved creating a new database to rebuild a client’s email subscription list (consisting of over 25,000 emails). After compiling and manually entering them, along with the names and information associated with each one, the client asked me to deliver them in a different format. I had to adjust quickly to fill this request. Although this required a lot of work, the updated version of the database accommodated the client’s needs much more than the original one would have. I learned to alter the solution to suit the client, rather than trying to alter the client’s desires to fit the original proposed solution.

Responsibility:

The quality of taking ownership of one’s actions, successes, and failures produces a positive work atmosphere when each coworker exhibits it. However, the ability to take responsibility requires effective communication skills as well; a lesson I learned while caring for my sisters.  This experience has prepared me to stand by my actions and accept consequences.  It is a core aspect of my personality and has challenged me to strive to achieve the best results possible.

For example, I was asked to gather several clients’ information to reserve hotel rooms and plane tickets for an upcoming conference. After collecting the information, I learned that the conference was in danger of cancellation. More than a month later, I learned that the conference would be held after all. The long delay between starting and completing the task threw me into some confusion, as some logistical details had changed and I needed to ensure that the dates and times of the travel and lodging bookings would be accurate. Taking the responsibility of communicating thoroughly and effectively with both clients and my coworkers ensured my ability to follow through on this task successfully.

Empathy:

While last on this list, possessing the ability to understand another’s viewpoint is the most important lesson I have learned from my three younger sisters. We are all in different stages of our lives and our unique opinions have been shaped by our different experiences. The ability to consider how life appears through other people’s perspectives is a valuable asset in any setting, especially in the workplace. The people I have worked with throughout my semester at LRG have this quality — the ability to see the world through another’s eyes — creating a positive company culture.

I benefited from an example of this while being mentored by a colleague. When assigned a project involving an extensive background of Microsoft Excel (which I lacked), my manager took the time to teach me some advanced functions that were new to me and ensured I mastered the steps the task required. She was patient and empathized with my concern that I lacked the background I needed to complete the assignment. By taking the time to teach me the skills I needed, she enabled me to both complete the task at hand and apply them to future assignments, contributing to the success of other projects.
The flexibility, responsibility, and empathy I have gained as the oldest of four sisters has helped me to successfully take on roles in a professional office environment and has positively shaped my experience as an intern. While my family role has instilled these characteristics in me, LRG has further fostered these qualities. My time at LRG has increased my confidence in my abilities and has helped me to develop my professional experience.

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