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Internship — golden chance for self-discovery

Winnie Lee, student stories
BBA Marketing Information Management student
Winnie Lee Wing-yee

Internship is the new black of the century. Some applicants might think it is a great way to earn some pocket money during leisure time, while some might think that it is another way to polish his or her resume to secure a job position before graduation. What does it mean to you?

In 2013, I became a summer cadet on the South China Morning Post Young Post after joining its Junior Reporter’s Club for two years. The programme provides secondary school students with hands-on experience in news reporting and insights of what local journalism is like for journalists working in Hong Kong.

This exceptional internship experience has truly manifested Brian Tracy’s saying to me: “goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.” As a cadet reporter, the major challenge of all time is that you have no choice but to befriend time limit, be it scheduled or sudden deadline. One day I was suddenly assigned for an ad hoc task – to report a dim sum competition. Supposedly it was an individual task of mine. However, as time was running short, Susan the Editor told me to sit next to her while I was on the phone communicating with the on-site reporters to acquire information and materials for the news piece ranging from the contestants to the judging panels. The process was extremely intense since we had to finish drafting the article before sending it to the printing department for publication. The pressure kicked in once I was responsible for the phone calls. Susan’s advice to me as a reporter was to ask for all the information you need at one time. This saves everyone’s effort and facilitates the overall workflow.

During the two-week cadet programme, each one of us was given a chance to investigate and compile a feature article from scratch on any topic they were interested in and ‘Coffee’ was the topic I chose for. For the preparation of the article, I had to arrange face-to-face interviews with the coffee company, contact the person-in-charge and follow up for any problems related to the article itself via phone and email. Thanks to the guidance from the experienced reporters, the birth of “Savour the Flavour” was a success with the combined effort of self-motivation, passion, and embracing the uncertainty. For instance, schedule of the interview could be changing until the last moment and further details might be needed after the visit. Although Information Technology is now my career aspiration, this internship experience has equipped me with the understanding of working in the real world and helps me realize that passion can be a combination of two or more.

Even though there are plenty of interpretations to internship, I believe having an internship is a chance for self-discovery. You as an intern will be able to take up different responsibilities and roles, as well as expose yourself to various positions across different departments to test out your boundaries. Many students may be overwhelmed by the unlimited internship opportunities in the market. Yet, there are three factors to consider before applying for an internship: your capability, passion, and your career goal. Unlike employees who have already get used to the way the company works after working in the corporation for a certain period of time, you will be exploring tasks that you will perform beyond the expectation of yourself or even others, as well as assignments that you may be less capable of doing. Secondly, you will also be discovering your passion and interest while understanding the type of co-workers you would like to be working with during work collaboration. Last but not least, the most vital component of all is the organizational culture which ultimately determines how comfortable you will be feeling in this company. No one should ever follow the crowd applying for internship purely because of the reputation of the companies or the networking they can get from the job.

To sum up, joining a company as an intern allows you to experience the significance of self-value and joint effort. Besides, internship is a gateway to knowing who you are at heart, and helps you to strive towards your passion. I believe everyone should have an internship experience in order to discover, focus, and strive for his or her life-long passion at an early stage of life.

(Written by Winnie Lee Wing-yee. August 2016)