Learning to Learn from Every Experience
By: Grace Hanlon, Director of Mentorship
This summer has been unlike any other summer I have ever had. For the first time, I am spending most of my days away from my home in suburban Philadelphia with my family and home friends. Instead, most of my time is being spent here at Temple. I am currently interning two days a week, and picking up shifts at a restaurant near campus. The days that I’m free, I’ve been hanging around Philly or taking regional rail back to my hometown. Before summer started, I had visions that I would be working full time at an internship, or stacking up as many hours that I could at my part-time job, and saving a lot of money for the school year. Things didn’t exactly pan out that way—but I honestly think it has been for the better.
My internship position is unpaid and two days a week, and I haven’t been given a lot of hours at my other job. Instead of feeling dejected,I have been going about my summer with the mindset that I will learn as much as possible through my experiences. First, I am learning to live within my means and be responsible with my money. Since I’m not making as much money as I have in previous summers, it has taken some adjusting to live a more budgeted lifestyle. Just simple things like making my own coffee in the morning, or grocery shopping instead of eating out make a big difference in my budget. These are lessons that are important to learn now so when I do enter the real world in just a couple years, I know I can adjust to my economic situation of my entry-level salary (assuming the gods of the newly graduated bless my job prospects!).
I’ve also been trying to learn as much as possible while at my internship. I’m learning about industry lingo and the processes that are involved in a public relations campaign. As an intern, though, you might not necessarily get a lot of inside look at the action- so it is important to try to learn from every part of the processes no matter how small they may seem. Besides the industry knowledge and experiences I’m gaining, I’m learning little things like office etiquette, how to blind carbon copy people on an email, practicing my cold calling skills, and I’ve learned I really do have it in me to wake up early and commute to work one day. Although those last ideas might seem silly, it really does make a difference to try to see value in every aspect of your experiences.
This summer, I have found a new sense of independence in myself which will only strengthen my experiences in the future. I now have the confidence that I can budget my expenses, hold my own in an office setting, and have a positive attitude to make the most out of my situations even if they do not live up to my previous expectations. For whatever opportunities come your way—take them. Try something new! You never know what kind of lessons you will learn, and how these experiences will shape you. At the beginning of this summer, I was apprehensive that I would not be doing enough—financially or otherwise—but like everything in life, this summer has been what I’ve made of it. I’ve set out to make it my best summer yet…and I would say I’m achieving my goals.