Tyler is a guest blogger who wanted to share the lessons learned as a high school intern. Indiana INTERNnet supports experiental learning for all individuals, including high school students, traditional college students, and career changers.
Hi, my name is Tyler. I’m a senior at Ben Davis University High School, a school where students take high school and college courses–not just a course or two–but two years of college courses. With the help of MSD of Wayne Township and Vincennes University, in just a few days, I will be graduating with my Core 40, a Technical Honors diploma, and my Associate’s Degree in Information Technology. Just about all my classmates will receive their college degrees in one of four majors: including Health Careers, Business, Liberal Arts, and Information Technology. There are 75 of us who will earn this honor.
I’ve been applying my classroom skills to real-life projects in an internship throughout the past few months. I worked on a project with a group of classmates and some of the administration at BDU. The Reverse Career Fair (www.Degree2Career.com) is an event to give potential employers, internship sites, colleges, and universities the opportunity to meet and potentially hire students who attend my unique school. We need this experience because we are younger than your typical college graduate by at least two years. However, we have done the work of college students and are ready to move on to the work world or transition to a 4-year college.
In my internship, the IT committee worked as a group; we designed and coded via HTML a website used to advertise the fair and register individuals. I designed an email through the website MailChimp.com that links to the student-designed website where interested parties may register for our event. We also connected the website to Paypal and TicketLeap to collect fees that will be used to fund scholarships for students. For the final activity, I am designing and coding a personal portfolio website where I will be able to show my work from this internship and work from throughout my career while at BDU and VU.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons in this internship. Nothing is ever perfect, nor does anything fully run smoothly, and you have to be willing to make adjustments and think on-the-fly. We, the students working on the website and other projects, have been able to see that what we learn in our classes does not always work the same way in an internship. Keeping in mind that this was our first time working on such a big project, many times we had to scrap something that did not work out for one reason or another. Working under deadlines was very difficult at times. I can hear my internship supervisor right now saying to me, “An internship is not class!”
This internship has been very engaging and has provided a huge learning experience in my final semester. I’ve learned that when working in a large group of people – everyone has their own opinions and wants and needs. We all had our own personal stake in the project, which did not always match up.
Another reflection is that I have to speak up to be heard and considered. Normally, I’m one to simply be quiet and get my work done. However, while working in a group, I learned I needed to let my team members know what I was doing. Working alone on a project isn’t how it works in the real world! In the real world, you have to speak up, communicate, ask -not demand – if you want to get a group project done.
Before my time at BDU, I wasn’t what many would consider a “star student.” I did enough work to get recognized and pass the class, but I never did enough to be “the best.” Now I feel like I am reaching my potential. My work is diligent and goes beyond expectations. I’ve gone from someone who has done just enough to being a scholar. I feel like I’ve made an impact on this school during my internship with the staff of BDU. I’ve played my part in organizing a very important event that will be held annually for the junior class. That is a something I can be proud of and look back to with a sense of accomplishment and giving back.