“Speak Up” is a guest blog post by Hanover College‘s third-year English Studies student, Alyssa DelPrete, who dreams of making it in the publishing industry. She left her comfortable small-town life and traveled to Philadelphia for the fall semester, obtaining an internship in editing and being immersed in the world of publishing through The Philadelphia Center (TPC). “This experience is already changing me, and I can’t wait to see how I transform over the course of the semester,” says Alyssa.
This past Thursday, I had a meeting with both my TPC advisor and my internship supervisor. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I found myself standing nervously beside Mark, my TPC advisor, as we waited for my supervisor to return to her office. As Mark flipped through the recent issues of Book Business and Publishing Executive, the two publications done by the group at NAPCO that I’m interning with, I hovered nearby, shifting my weight from one foot to the other as I mentally reviewed the learning plan I had edited the previous night that would provide the basis for the meeting.
In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was afflicted with such anxiety as I waited for the meeting to begin. Mark had informed us that the purpose of the 3-way meeting is to go over our learning plans (a list of 6 objectives that we want to accomplish over the course of the semester, mainly within our internships but also in our general experiences in Philadelphia) with our supervisors to ensure that we are able to make this experience and internship valuable. So why be nervous, when the entire point of the meeting is for two people to try to make sure all my personal goals are accomplished?
“In the end, my nerves were entirely unwarranted.”
I blame my school history. I’ve never engaged in a discussion such as this with a teacher or professor. It made me nervous to be the center of attention in a meeting with a professor and supervisor. I don’t know how to drive these types of conversations, because I’ve just never had one like it before. They may have been available in the past, but if so, I’ve never taken the opportunity.
But, in the end, my nerves were entirely unwarranted. Though these nerves resurfaced every time I was put on the spot to give my opinion or state specific things that I want, it was so much more helpful and valuable than I anticipated. I now have specific projects and goals to work on, and I’ve already begun on these things. My supervisor now knows my longterm career goals, and because of this, she can help me to gain experience that will help me accomplish this.
“It’s okay to ask questions, and in fact, it’s good to.”
What I’ve learned from this experience is that I can’t be afraid to speak up. If I want to get the most out of this experience, I need to let go of my old notions regarding student-teacher and employee-boss relationships. It’s okay to ask questions, and in fact, it’s good to. I will be able to be a better intern if I ask for more work and become more assertive, instead of just obediently doing everything my supervisor asks of me and nothing more.
I hope that I can continue to progress as a student and an intern, breaking out of the traditional roles instilled in me throughout my schooling thus far. I want to be more than just a “good intern.” I want to be remembered, and to do that, I will have to learn to speak up.