WHAT I LEARNT FROM THAT EXPERIENCE
Now that the story telling is over, what did I learn from that? This is, after all Lessons from a Learner. What I’m going to share here has nothing to do with skills I learnt during internship. I already wrote that for my internship report. However, if you really want to see that, feel free to ask me for the report.
I’m talking about lessons that can easily be applied regardless of where you are in life or what you’re doing in life.
Be nice to people
Kindness goes a long way. For some people I met there, the first thing that comes to mind about them when I remember them is not how good they were at their job. The first thing I remember is how that one lady smiled at me on my first day at work as I waited outside for someone to show up. I remember the carry puffs that I found at the desk most mornings, I remember my supervisor calling Ms. Nani every time, not because he couldn’t say my name but because he wanted me to be friendly. I remember my supervisor telling me funny stories about his life and time in the engineering field. I remember people asking me about how comfortable I was there and I remember people offering to go to and fro work with me every day.
Being nice does not hurt. If you are going to show up to a new place and not want to give people “I see you smiles or nods”, if you are going to wait for them to say hi or you’re going to be rude, there’s a high chance you won’t enjoy your time there or around those people. Personally, I will say hi to you or at least smile in your direction. If you ignore me then sad for you.
People will most likely remember you for how you treated them and then what you did. I remember my work colleagues for first being so nice to me and then for teaching me what I know now.
Independence/ Decision Making
I had to make so many decisions by myself while I worked there. In as much as my colleagues were open to hep, some decisions were mine to make. I worked on actual designs for on-going projects. In the design field, every decision matters. Every number, every value and every unit. You’re designing an actual building so your decisions matter. Just be able to explain why you went with option B and not A.
I’m glad they gave me that freedom. Of course I didn’t get it right every time but sometimes, my decisions pointed out errors in existing designs or questioned other people’s decisions, with good cause. So that independence I had worked out well for me.
We have to make decisions in our day to day life and every decision we make changes or impacts something in your life. If you decide to run 1KM instead of 0.5 KM, that affects something. If I choose to get on the bus/train instead of getting a cab, it affects my pockets. Do you get where I’m going with this? If you do something, know why you’re doing it.
So be mindful about the decisions you make and what you do with your independence.
You are more important than you think you are
In your family, work place, friend groups, relationships or whatever. You are more important than you think you are.
The position of intern is probably the lowest position on the career ladder but that doesn’t take away your value or importance. If interns had no value at all, companies wouldn’t look interns. Your contribution matters and I’ve heard of stories where interns completely changed the face of companies. I’m pretty sure we all know at the end of every year, Spotify wraps up your top listened to songs and all that. Last year’s Spotify Wrapped had a “story” format which many people liked. Apparently, an intern at Spotify did that. She came up with the “story” concept as an internship project. Don’t undervalue yourself or what you’re capable of.
Outside the work environment too, sometimes we may not think we are important or special. That’s definitely the case with me. At times I don’t recognise how important I am in a relationship or in a friend group and even in my family. So, even if your friends never appreciate you or say it, you are more important than you think you are.
All your ideas, your plans, your likes and your dislikes, your feelings and your thoughts all matter because you are important.
Just Do It
At the beginning of this post, I told you how I was afraid of how this internship will end up. How people wouldn’t like me or how I would feel very different. I was afraid I would mess up. I had so many things going through my mind. That’s the thing about fear, the longer we dwell on it, the more it feels your mind and actually convinces you that you can’t do it.
Fear will be there but don’t let it become you. So many times we are afraid to try new things because we are afraid we will fail. I’m talking to myself here to. I have allowed a lot of ideas to take the back seat because I’m afraid of how things might play out.
Just step out and do it. Chiko wrote an amazing piece on fear that I think you should read. Allow me to borrow her words: “Allow your fears to push you to be better but don’t give them too much attention.”
If I held on to that fear, I guarantee you my first day would have been a mess because I would have been shaking throughout and wouldn’t have been open up to anyone’s kindness. So let go of the fear and just do it. Whatever it is you’ve been meaning to do.
My Cold Sandwich May Not be as Good as the Nasi Goreng but it will be good to my pockets.
Nasi Goreng translates to fried rice. I’ve had some really good nasi goring meals here and my favourite has to be “Nasi goreng USA”. I know what you’re thinking but no, it has completely nothing to do with the United States of America. U-Udang (prawn), S- Sotong (squid/calamari- I think) and A- Ayam (Chicken). Anyway, that’s one of my favourite nasi goring orders.
What I’m saying is be nice to your pockets. If you don’t save then maybe you should start saving. I could have easily spent RM 4000 every month but that makes no sense to me. If it does, then that’s good for you.
When it comes to spending money, I try to focus on what I need first. If I don’t need it, it’s not urgent. Of course I still splurge every now and then but it’s not something I like to do. I always like to have some extra money in my account.
I first learnt my lesson with this when I fell sick away from home and had to be admitted to the hospital. My insurance was going to cover it but there are some things I didn’t put in place prior to that so I had to pay for that out of my pockets and then insurance was going to give me the money. I went to two different hospitals before I actually got admitted and I had to pay at the first one. I used all my money there and then needed my dad to send more. Interbank transfers take more than a day and in as much as I didn’t need the money there and then, because I was being kept for a week, it stressed me out. Since then, I try to have enough money to survive for a whole month without my allowance.
All I’m saying is certain things don’t demand spending so much money. Just be smart with your money and save for your big purchases or for a rainy day.
I wrote about how I wasn’t supposed to do my internship from Malaysia but ended up having to because of travel restrictions. I had heard and seen people’s experiences with finding internship places here. Being an international student, with a very different name and being in the middle of a pandemic with everything literally falling apart doesn’t make anything easy.
I know people who literally applied to 20+ places. I hadn’t applied here initially because I was going to work from home. Things changed when I had almost a month to what was supposed to be my first day. I was STRESSED. Everything people had told me about their job search experience and knowing that I did not have time to apply to 20+ places just discouraged me and I was ready to skip the semester and just take an additional one.
So one night, while I was really stressed, I decided to pray about it. I told God everything I was going through and how it would be nice to find a job in the next week. I read verses on trusting God and reminded myself that God’s plan was better than mine. The school writes letters to companies that one is applying to. It took about two days to get the letters sometimes. After praying and saying whatever happens, happens, I googled, “Top Engineering Consultants in Malaysia” called three of them and emails with my documents.
I got feedback from all three of them. I remember one company told me they would want me for more than 3 months which I obviously couldn’t do. So, just like that, in 24 hours, I had a job. Pandemic and all. I didn’t even follow the school’s procedure.
What I’m saying is, it’s good to hear about other people’s experiences. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have a blog and you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But, in as much as people’s input is important and definitely helps when deciding what comes next, don’t forget to ask God for his input. Don’t forget to trust him. God’s plans are definitely not ours and he knows what’s best for us.
Talk to God about literally everything. No matter how small or silly it sounds, he cares. If it concerns you, it concerns him. Trust God when it seems hard, when all is well and especially when things aren’t going your way.
I could go on and on with this but I will end here. I hope you enjoyed reading this and at least one thing stood out to you.
Thanks for having me here Chiko.
Thanks for reading!