This was my first extended amount of time working in a professional environment. Over my summer at Highlights, I was able to practice living on my own, dressing professionally, and maintaining a work-life balance. This experience helped me to feel more confident in a professional setting, especially when it comes to working on a team with employees of different levels.
So often in classes, students find themselves thinking, “when will I ever use this?” I am happy to report that throughout my internship, I applied several themes and topics from both my Communications and Computer Science Courses. I edited HTML code for new webpages, which is a skill that I learned in one of my first Computer Science classes at Ohio State. I also worked with online advertising, which I learned the various strategies of in Introduction to Communication Technology. I was positively surprised to know that what I am learning in my classes really will help me in my future career.
The biggest transformation, for me, was a change in confidence. Because of my STEP project, I am able to feel confident in my ability to succeed in a professional environment. I was fortunate to work with a team at Highlights of warm and welcoming employees, who never made me feel that it was a hassle to explain their work to me. Particularly, my relationships with my bosses, Kevin and Brendin, helped me; the two of them always kept their door open for me and encouraged me to ask any questions. I also gave a presentation to the CEO of the company, and his praise was a huge boost to my confidence as well.
One of my personal goals for this internship was to better understand what type of career I would like to go into. Working with the eCommerce department, I got to attend meetings and work on projects with other departments including, IT, Web Services, Creative Services, and Product Management. Seeing this wide view of areas that I could potentially have as careers was quite valuable to me. While I do have a technical background in Computer Science, I have decided that I would not like to have an IT job. Also, I now know that I would not like a business position that deals with sales numbers. Rather, I prefer a slightly more creative position; one that is project based and works with the human-interaction side of STEM.
I feel like my STEP project was an opportunity to dip my toes in the water of the adult world. At my internship, I had to be accountable for my work and a dependable employee. With my project funding, I bought groceries, prepared meals, paid rent, and improved my professional wardrobe. These personal adjustments helped to make me feel confident about life after Ohio State as well.
Since completing my internship at Highlights, I have solidified my major and minor. I am now a New Media & Communication Technology major with a minor in Computer Information Science. Deciding on a major (and minor) is something that had been a cause of stress for me for a while. I am so glad that through my internship, I have been able to choose a major and minor that will point me in the direction of my career intentions.
I am pleased to report that I have been invited back for a second internship next summer at Highlights. I was also offered a part-time position for during the school year, which I turned down for the time being to focus on academics. Because I will be returning to Highlights, there is certainly a possibility that I may end up working there after I graduate. This possibility has shaped my future plans because I am beginning to consider building a life in Columbus, working at Highlights, and setting further career goals for myself there.