Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Wrap-Up and A Look to Fall

Happy Friday, friends! I'm not posting a review today, mostly because I'm tired, but also because I'm having a bit of a challenging time with the book I'm currently reading. It's okay, but not engaging me, and I found that I wasn't reading it fast enough to finish in time to write a review and post it from Friday at midnight. So instead, I'm going to talk a little about my summer!

This summer was very different for me. It was my final summer sandwiched by "school", the ever-important summer between junior and senior year of university. At least where I attend university, this summer is critical; everyone who wants to be anyone has to have an internship this summer. 

For me, the application process for internships was challenging. Many firms hiring environmental engineers (full-time, or interns) weren't taking on interns. I'd been applying since November 2015, and hit a lot of walls. Either I never heard back, or I heard back and they said they weren't hiring interns, or I heard back from one or two that were hiring interns.

Eventually, I chose the State Highway Administration, as a hydraulic engineer intern. This was a completely new field to me, because hydraulic engineering is a part of civil engineering (and I'm an environmental engineering major). But I accepted the position for that reason - to learn something completely new.

I started at the end of May, and just finished a week ago. I got to choose when I started and stopped, so I did just over twelve weeks of work. I've worked eight-hour days before, but never for a job that is somewhat related to my major. Not for a job that felt so important.

I absolutely loved it at State Highway. If I could have stayed, I would have. If it weren't for school, I would have extended my internship, and then applied full-time. I loved it there, and I know just about everyone in my division loved me and having me around. It was so hard to leave!

What I took away from interning there (in general):

- I'm more than capable of crossing over into the civil engineering side of things. Hydraulic engineering at State Highway is quite related to environmental issues (like runoff and water pollution), so I didn't feel like I was completely out of my element.

- I think I'd be a pretty good design engineer. Not everyone who majors in engineering ends up doing actual "engineering". Not everyone who majors in engineering ends up doing design engineering. Over this summer, I got to do a lot of design - and it was great! Challenging, sometimes overwhelming, but definitely an amazing experience. And I was pretty good at it!

- I love working early. Apparently I like arriving at 7:30 AM and leaving at 4:00 PM. When I start working full-time (wherever that may be) after I graduate, I think I'd like this same schedule!

- I'd much rather work in the public sector than private. There is significantly less money working for the government, BUT there is job security, and only 40-hour weeks. In the private sector, in the engineering world, there is little job security, and lots of overtime.

- I love how much traveling is involved at State Highway. Site/field visits and off-site meetings were definitely some of the highlights of my internship. I accompanied engineers on my team and other teams to visits and meetings all over Maryland! The only part of Maryland I didn't get to hit was Garrett/Allegany/Washington counties, i.e. western Maryland. But that's okay!

- I miss everyone that I worked with. Seriously! I almost cried on Friday! I'll definitely be applying there in the spring.


Tips for students applying for internships:

- Apply early. Like, October/November early, if you're looking at summer ones. It doesn't hurt to email HR and ask for an application early, or if they're hiring interns in general.

- Apply to A LOT of internships. You might heart back from, let's say, 10% of them. And even less than that might actually have applications and/or acceptances. Google your major, narrow down by your target location, etc. Also, check your university' career search site for listings (my university uses something called "Handshake").

- Draw on connections. Whether they be familial, or via your university, use as many connections as you can. You might find an internship this way, you might not, but it doesn't hurt to try.

- When you get one/choose one, don't be afraid to ask "simple" questions. Like, what is the dress code? Can I come in earlier/later? Do I get paid for overtime? 

- If you like where you work, be sure you have contact information and information about how to apply full-time. Ask around, see who typically does the interviews. Keep email addresses and phone numbers handy. Email your supervisor or team leader if/when you do apply.

- Ask if they do winter internships, if you want to come back as an intern. Or internships during the school year (if feasible for you).

School starts for me on September 1st, so I've been home for a week, and I have another half-week. I like being home, because I pretty much went straight into the internship after finals, back in May. The rest and recharge thing has been good for me. But I'm ready to go back to school, and finish things off! I'm hoping it'll be a good year. I think I'm ready to join the workforce though.

With that, my summer has pretty much ended! I hope everyone else had a pretty fulfilling summer as well, especially students like me. I wish everyone going back to school the very best!

20 comments:

  1. Wow. Sounds like you had an unexpectedly amazing experience. Isn't it wonderful when it turns out that way? Good luck with the new school year!

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    1. I did! It met my expectations and then some. Thank you, Gina!

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  2. Thanks for all the tips–I need to apply for an internship next summer, because the past two summers didn’t exactly work out as planned. But yay! So glad you liked it :D I’m heading back to uni next week and I’m kinda happy, but also kinda wishing summer was longer haha. Have a great rest of the summer :)

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    1. Oooo, best of luck, Rabiah! You got this! Don't stress too much about it. =) I wish this summer was longer too!

      Thank you, and you too!

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  3. I'm really glad to hear that your intership was awesome in so many levels!!
    Now rest and get ready for your last year of college!
    *hugs*

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  4. Thanks so much for doing a summer wrap up about your internship experience. I was curious how it went. That's neat that you got to explore a related field of work and discover it was a good match for you. Glad you had a rest and are ready to go back and finish up. I remember that student teaching for my degree left me eager to get my teaching job and own classroom. Much the same for you, I'd imagine.

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    1. Thank YOU for checking up on me! I loved the experience, and I hope I can go back. I liked switching it up! =)

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  5. I'm so glad your internship worked out so well, and those are great tips! Especially applying to a LOT and using connections. Enjoy your last (mini) summer vacation ever! ;)

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    1. I am too! And thank you! I hope you have a great academic year!

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  6. That's so great for you! Being able to learn something new and enjoy working there is always a plus. And you chose 12 weeks! They will see that you really are passionate about all of this. I really hope that next year you're able to get into it full time :) I like working early, just not waking up haha there's a problem there obviously. At least you have these few days to rest so that's good :)
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

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    1. I wanted as much experience as possible (and the pay was really good too)! Tbh I struggled a little with going to bed early, but meh, #collegestudent. I am a morning person so it worked out okay!

      Thanks, Genesis!

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  7. Thanks so much for all your tips in finding an internship! I'm going pass them to my nephews who are starting college. Glad you loved your internship and they loved you. I see a full time career with them for you in the future. :)Enjoy your downtime before you start school again.

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    1. AWESOME! I hope the tips help! Best of luck to them in college. =)

      Thank you, thank you!

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  8. Good luck starting school again!! :D

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  9. You are aaaawesome Alyssa :D I'm so glad you had an amazing summer at your internship. <3 Yesss :D Though, heh, school and jobs and gah, it all sounds so stressful and a lot :p I can't help but feel a bit happy that I'm sick and don't have to do all this, hih. But also so happy that you are loving it :) Yay. Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3 And eee! School starts for you tomorrow! BEST OF LUCK :D

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    1. It is stressful! There are positives and negatives to everything, right? Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it.

      Thank you so much, Carina! <3333

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  10. I'm so glad everything was great for you! I really have no idea what you're talking about because we don't have these things here, lol, but I'm so happy for you! You're awesome!

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    1. Ha! Aww, I'm sorry, Lis! Thank you so much. =)

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