When I was 16 years old, I hated public speaking. I wouldn’t speak at church, I wouldn’t stand up and delegate at Girl Scout events, and I would even get nervous when I spoke to groups of 4 or 5 people at a time. As you can imagine, I was mortified when I saw that I had to take a public speaking class in order to graduate from practically any university. So, I tried to take the class in the best way possible, at Ivy Tech Community College in a small class with less people to see my face turn bright red the minute my mouth opened. It ended up being a group of 15(ish) students and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. If I was well-informed on my topic, I could easily go on for hours (which are what 30 seconds feels like when you’re giving a presentation). After a few more communications classes, I grew to enjoy crafting speeches and figuring out how to involve my audience.
During the first week of my internship, the internship coordinator, Nicole Bieker, told me about an opportunity to speak about the staffing industry and internship program to a Senior-level HR class at the IUPUI Kelley School of Business. I had the opportunity to teach something to a bunch of seniors who are in my degree track! Who am I, a sophomore, to do such a thing? That’s insane… so of course, I said yes. As terrifyingly intimidating as that sounded, I wasn’t about to say no.
I didn’t think I would be able to tell that these students were easily two or three years older than me, but it definitely showed. What could I, a spry, young lassie, have to say to a bunch of seniors? As you can imagine, my nerves were heightened. Nonetheless, I forged onward! I played a very small role in the presentation (introducing myself, talking about the internship and passing out candy) but if nothing else, I encouraged the students to go to career fairs. I also got a Kelley School of Business portable USB charger and some free candy, so those were good bonuses.
I think the experience taught me that the age gap is real (even if it’s just a few years), but also that we shouldn’t be scared about being too young or too old to speak to an audience. That’s the great thing about people: we all have experiences that we can utilize to relate to one another. When I talked about career fairs, I mentioned how scary they are as a prospective employee, and their heads nodded in agreement. Simply finding one thing to connect with an audience on will get them to listen to you more intently and see you as a person, rather than a speaker.
Two weeks after our presentation, one of the students from the class came into our office to interview Nicole for a class assignment on recruiting and she let me sit in during the interview to gain experience. The student, Mike Huang, was a very bright individual (as most Kelley students are). He started by asking questions about recruiting, but as always Nicole turned it into an opportunity to share her wisdom about business, life and generation gaps. I learned a lot and I think Mike did too.
Events outside the office sound fun and interesting, and that’s what catches our eye. But you never know who you could meet or what you could learn from the experience. There could be massive opportunities or benefits lying within a simply activity, and you wouldn’t know it was there if you didn’t go. So; go! Have fun! Meet people! You never know where it will lead you.
I cannot speak enough good things about this internship with Milliner and Associates (M&A). I was already ahead of my class, but M&A has brought me to a whole other level of learning. I’m developing practical skills that I’ll use for the rest of my life. Having Nicole as a mentor to help me see what I’m learning and how I’m responding to it has been instrumental in my success. Internships are the bomb.com!