To future interns,
Welcome to the next big step in your life. Things are about to change – but for the better.
You are probably intimidated by the real-world pressures you’ll soon experience and wondering what an internship will be like. Members of Premier’s intern class of 2015 felt the same way. Perhaps our experiences will provide you with hope and, most importantly, the courage to try something new without fear of failure. We have learned many unforgettable lessons during these past 12 weeks and want to share a few that have proven to be the most essential. Hopefully they’ll help future interns like yourself.
Step outside of your comfort zone
Being in an unfamiliar place can be scary, especially when you’ll be spending the summer working with people you’ve never met. Take it from us, it is worth the suspense and anxiety. There’s something about being surrounded by unique and diverse individuals that inspires you to look within yourself to become something greater than you are.
This summer, Sheenam Mittal came to Charlotte while most of her friends and family were back home in India. She was immersed in an entirely new, unknown culture. When asked what she thought of her internship at Premier, Sheenam’s response was simple: “Absolutely welcoming.” Don’t hesitate to try something new. You either win or learn. Sometimes the most unforgettable experiences come from unfamiliar opportunities.
Learn your superpower
An advantage of participating in an organized and structured internship program like Premier’s is active C-suite (a word you’ll learn on the job) involvement. We were able to listen to multiple executives and learn from some of the most hard-working and established professionals in healthcare.
One late afternoon we were able to meet with Premier President and CEO Susan DeVore. (Side bar: As we rode the elevator to the meeting, she hopped on with us and even cracked a joke.) She was very approachable and an outstanding example of how powerful women can be in the business world. (A good friend and fellow intern calls her “Queen D” after Beyoncé.) She explained the importance of knowing your superpower, something you do better than anyone else in the workplace. We voluntarily shouted out our superpowers: optimism, skepticism, empowering others.
Zach Brown discovered his superpower: adaptability. He started his internship with primarily a business background but is now troubleshooting his manager’s code (what does that even mean?!). When asked how learning his superpower affected him, he answered immediately: “It made me more confident. I felt more enabled to achieve success and help others do the same.”
Similar to the infamous Avengers, each superpower is unique and contributes something different to the team. This lesson stuck with us. It’s important to use your superpower to thrive in the workplace. Our advice? Discover what you’re best at, whatever it may be and use it to your advantage to create an identity and brand yourself. If you don’t, other people will do it for you.
Work where you’re empowered
As interns, it’s normal to feel trivial, perhaps unimportant. Let’s face it, when we picture internships, we usually think of coffee runs and busy work. That’s no longer the case for many companies, like Premier, who provide opportunities to make a real change in our communities. After all, an internship is more than just a job you put on your resume. It’s an opportunity to grow, learn and evolve into a powerful and independent employee.
Alex Kravetz was tasked with determining what specialty drugs would best benefit various providers and patients. Through his work, he was able to improve access to medical care which allowed him to help change our community for the better. Finding a company that not only appreciates interns, but openly values their innovative thinking and energetic enthusiasm is vital in selecting an internship program. Don’t settle for anything less.
Be a sponge
Each internship environment has a unique culture. Immerse yourself in it. Take note of your colleagues’ traits and habits. Keep asking questions and seeking advice. Anne Moenning, a developer intern and rising senior, worked remotely out of Premier’s Charlottesville, VA, office. She made the most of her internship, soaking up the culture around her and learning from her colleagues. When asked about her experience, Anne replied confidently, “I’ve learned valuable lessons on how to balance communication and teamwork to drive success.” An internship is a springboard to the rest of your career. Don’t let a single minute pass by without thinking, “What can I learn from this?”
An internship is an adventure – a journey to discover your passions, preferences and superpowers. While it can be intimidating, it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll encounter. While each internship will bring different rewards and lessons, what matters most is your ability to adapt, learn and make a real difference. We hope our advice will enable you to do so.
One final tip: Cultivate the friendships you’ll make. You never know. They might last a lifetime. Or at the very least, create new connections for future positions.
How about your summer internship? Please comment below.