In June, I had the opportunity to write a blog introducing the 2018 IWCO Direct Summer Interns. Over the next few days, you’ll be hearing about what we learned, loved, and left behind at IWCO Direct after our summer experience. In an attempt to complete my last official assignment for the summer, I asked my fellow interns to answer the question, “What have you learned during your time at IWCO Direct?” The answers (included below) are summarized from the wide variety of responses I gathered. These answers reflect the huge amount of knowledge we were able to obtain during our short peek into IWCO Direct’s business and the world of direct marketing.
Here are a few things we learned this summer:
1. Experience is education
There is nothing more valuable than hands-on experience. Whether it be in a production or an office setting, real-world opportunities translate to unique learning experiences you can’t find in a lecture hall or classroom. Cally Wilkinson, Sample Sign-Off intern, believes that her time at IWCO Direct gave her “a chance to see what [she] might have to look forward to in the future,” and gave her “insight as to how a company works from the inside.”
One of the most important lessons learned this summer was to recognize the significance of this intern experience and take advantage of every opportunity. Having mentors to give guidance and advice, or even superiors willing to let you shadow them, provides insight and knowledge that is hard come by.
2. Small changes make a big impact
Making changes, no matter how small or detailed, can make a big difference in every project, meeting, production cycle, etc. These changes can create a chain reaction on efficiency and productivity throughout the company. Ryan Snyder, Maintenance intern, remarked that his workload gave him the ability to “start a project and see it through its whole life and how it could directly impact the company.” This summer has given us all an understanding that even our smaller intern projects can make a larger impact on IWCO Direct as a whole.
This is one thing we all love to experience—watching our projects and contributions play out in a real-world arena. Interns understand how difficult it is to integrate us into everyday office life while also giving us productive things to work on for the few short months we’re around. It feels good to know that our contributions aren’t just busywork, but that they really make an impact in the long term.
3. Communication is key
One thing every intern wrote in their response to my question was the importance of communication in their department. Having the skills and tools to communicate with all departments on multiple platforms is vital to functioning day to day. Whether it be through email or in person, the ability to communicate confidently with those around you is an extremely important skill to have in all aspects of life.
In every job, there’s an “uh-oh…” moment that requires everyone to scramble and change things on the fly. Learning to keep communication lines open to notice errors, make the changes, and execute a final product is something that can only happen through experience. These situations also speak to how much interns appreciate the time mentors and supervisors take to turn every situation (good or bad) into a learning experience. Having someone explain what just happened in the aftermath turns any situation into a valuable lesson, but this guidance can only happen if communication is open.
The most important thing we learned from our summer intern experience is that truly anything can be turned into a teaching moment for both supervisors and interns (“What do you mean, ‘Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer’?!”). For more on our personal highlights from the summer 2018 internships, tune in tomorrow to learn what we loved during our time at IWCO Direct.
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