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Don’t underestimate the value of high school internships. We’re shining a light on these valuable experiences by telling the stories of students around the state. Be on the lookout for additional blog posts about high school internships.

Author Bio: My name is Nick Wilson and I am a 2020 Center Grove High School graduate from Greenwood, Indiana. I plan on studying civil engineering next year at Purdue University. I am the Development Intern at The Garrett Companies this summer.

Earlier this year, I knew I would have to find a job to fill my time for this summer. Not only that, but I needed to begin saving money for my time away from home in the near future. Instinctively, I decided that looking into a job that relates to what I want to do would be much more beneficial to my future than flipping patties at a burger joint. It would get me the ‘to-be-saved’ money I needed to earn, provide me with valuable exposure toward a possible career path, and add work experience to my resumé.

I got connected to The Garrett Companies through the president, Eric Garrett, who also coached my club cross country team. While I didn’t know much about the company’s logistics or duties at the time, I understood that they had civil engineers on the staff and had their own summer internship program. I mentioned to him what I planned on studying and that I was interested in his internship program, and my opportunity sprouted from there.

While I do work part time, my time in the office is usually spent as a shadow or assistant to the development managers and associates of the company. I generally will sit in on their meeting with the sole aim of understanding what they’re trying to accomplish. I am gaining a good deal of exposure to real estate development and the complex tiers that go into it. I have also been lucky enough to be able to have one-to-one meetings with the development team and discuss the topics and skills that are essential for development success. Apart from that, my duties include anything else that I am qualified or able to assist the team with, including online research and checking over plan requirements.

My favorite aspect of being an intern of The Garrett Companies is simply being a part of the company culture. I have been able to participate in their company-wide events that make coming into work a bit more exciting, including a volleyball tournament and Thursday morning yoga. On another note, the most challenging aspect has to be my limited human capital toward the company. While there is plenty I am unable to help with, it’s challenging to want to assist with something that I am not qualified for. While it’s something I know I’ll be able to improve on, even in my short time here, it stinks to think of how little help I can be in some components of the job.

Through this experience, I have been able to learn all about the development process in general, as well as the big-picture process that the company goes through from finding plots of land to buy all the way to managing tenants in their apartment complexes. It has also given me valuable insight on the inner workings of having a job and functioning in the real world. If given the opportunity, I would advise other high school students looking for internships to be open to any internship they can acquire, because they offer more to experience than just a specific job. I have been able to work along with plenty of other associates of the company who have nothing to do with engineering, and I still believe I am benefiting from them.

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Indiana INTERNnet is the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning opportunities as a key strategy in retaining Indiana's top talent.
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