Interning Downtown

Back in September, I accepted a part time internship. I was a bit worried over the summer about finding something a little more reliable than the movie theatre (and something that paid more as well) when we came back to Kansas City. So I applied a few places through my university’s internship network, and received a couple of call backs. When I met with my now boss for the interview, I was very nervous. It’s a very large company in downtown Kansas City, with pretty high security (everyone needs access badges and I was escorted around). I was a bit intimidated because I had never worked for an organization anything like this before. It just seemed very out of my league.

But apparently not because I got the position! It was definitely an answered prayer, because I would be working less than last semester (I worked approximately 35 hours a week on top of my studies) and would be earning more! I have nights and weekends off and a set schedule, which I had at neither of my previous jobs here in KC. That also means Andrew I will have evenings together. The internship runs for a year, so I could stay until next August if I chose to, but I will probably only stay until I graduate in May. Seriously counting my blessings, guys, that I have a steady income until graduation. Most internships are only for a semester.

I am interning in the billing department, which is somewhat relevant to my finance degree. As it is an internship, I’m doing some more of the “entry-level” duties, including answering the phones and handling incoming emails with inquiries about invoices, etc. But I don’t mind. I also sync updates between the two programs the department uses, manage customer accounts, and credit card disputes (those are always interesting). It’s not super exciting, but I’m actually enjoying the responsibility. There’s occasionally down time, too, so I can work on some homework, which is really nice! Somedays I do all of my homework at work and can come home and relax. :)

My coworkers are fair. They are always helpful when I have questions, but most of them aren’t super friendly. I am okay with that, though.There is another intern and her and I get along really well. She’s very sweet and friendly – it’s really easy to strike up a conversation w with her. We actually have a class together! I’m really glad that I have a friendly face that’s my age that I can talk to.

The commute isn’t too bad. Our apartment is right by the highway I take so it’s only about a ten minute drive. It takes a bit longer for parking since I have to park in a garage but parking is paid for by my company, thankfully – parking is never free downtown!

Downtown KC
The view from my desk!

I have my own desk and name plate (it has my name on it!), but I think what I love most is that my computer has two monitors. I haven’t worked with two screens before, and oh my gosh it is phenomenal! I want two screens at home now. It is so convenient to be able to have more than one application fully pulled up and to not have to switch every time you need to look at something. I’m a believer now. #twoscreensforever

Before this internship, my previous “internships” I had received through connections; one was my Sunday School teacher from church, another our youth pastor’s wife, another a lady that my mom knew, the last one a friend who had previously worked there. So this is my first internship that I’ve earned based on my own qualifications and merits. It feels good guys, it feels good.

Being a Quiet Person

The other day, my management professor pulled me aside before class. This was unusual and I was a bit nervous – I was doing well in the class (or so I thought?) and wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I was really impressed with your presentation and you’ve done so well on the first exam.” She began. Okay, we’re good! It doesn’t have to do with my grade! “I wanted to talk to you about your level of participation in class.”

Oh boy, here we go.

As a preface: this professor is rather strict, but I overall really enjoy her class. It consists mostly of case studies and class discussion, and participation is a big part of the final grade. I feel like I participate a fair amount – not every class, but I do try to say at least one thing per class. I’m just not an active talker. In fact, it makes me really uncomfortable to talk in class, but I try occasionally for the sake of my grade.

My professor continues. “Someone with your intellectual capacity should be able to contribute more to class discussion. There are some students that just aren’t there yet, but I know with how well you’ve been doing in the class and you’re a smart girl, that you have so much that you could add to the conversation. So I want to ask you if there’s a reason why you don’t actively participate.”

I try to compose a reasonable answer besides, I just don’t want to. “Well,” I start, “I take several moments to compose my thoughts before I speak, and many time students have already said what I’m thinking. And, I’m just a natural listener. I just listen to other people without even thinking about inserting into the conversation, especially in a classroom environment,” I explained. “I have to consciously think that I need to add something, which is just not natural for me.”

She nods her head. “I totally understand that.” She says. “I was the same way – I was a very quiet person and I made a lot of mistakes in my first career job, and really in several after that because of that fact. The truth is, in the real world, in any career, you’re going to have to be more vocal. We need more assertive young women. I think that you could really benefit with experimenting being more vocal in this class.”

She went on to tell me things that I could bring up in class, like being the devil’s advocate or summarizing what other students had said, etc. I nod and promise her that I will try to be more active in class. She also asked what my plans were for after graduation. She knew that I was a finance student, and she lamented that she didn’t have that many contacts in the financial industry but that if she heard of anything, she’d let me know.

I was, and still am, flattered and slightly touched. It really was a compliment – especially that she wanted to help me find a job after graduation, even though I’m moving back to St. Louis. She really does have the best interest for her students at heart. I’m sure that she plays the mentor role well for many students.

And I do understand that being vocal and contributing is essential in any career, so I understand why she emphasizes it so much in the classroom. However, the classroom is not the work environment. So it is hard for me to practice something that doesn’t necessarily apply in the current situation.

My shyness has actually been something that I’ve been thinking about lately, before my professor even approached me on the subject. Sometimes, even in social gatherings, I can kind of suck into myself and just listen. I’ve always wondered if I would have more people in my life if I just talked more. Don’t get me wrong – I have wonderful amazing friends in my life, but really just a handful. I’m not wanting for more, just thinking. It’s more of a “what if” scenario that I play in my head. What would happen if I wasn’t so quiet.

Is it bad to just be a quiet person? No, I don’t think inherently it is. So why do I always feel like I have to apologize for being quiet?

© Copyright Rebecca Smith | 2011-2019