Hello my lovely readers! This is a post that has been a long time coming but I *FINALLY* got an engineering job. Yes. You read that right. Your girl made her first step into the engineering industry and the first step to achieving one of her wildest dreams. Well, from the title of this post, you know I’m working as an intern. A structural engineering intern to be specific. During my time as an intern, I have felt like quitting about twenty times and as a result, I have learnt to go easy on myself.
I have interning experience. I have done two other internships prior to this one. What makes this one different, however, is that this is my first internship as a university graduate. A degree holder. I am suddenly expected to know everything there is to know about the field.
Going in, I had so many expectations. I was going in to learn new skills, add on to the skills that I have and simply be the best intern I could possibly be. And that’s exactly what I did until I ran into hiccups and started questioning how ready I was for this new chapter of my life. Did I really learn anything in uni?
You Can Also Read: How To Get An Internship (Student Version)
When I got to my workplace, I had heard from other interns that the place wasn’t really busy. I heard that while they did have tasks occasionally, they didn’t really get to work on so many projects and I was kinda bummed. I didn’t want to spend as much money as I was spending to get to the office to end up doing nothing when I got there.
Fortunately, and sometimes unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for me. I always have work to do. Within my first two weeks of being there, I found myself doing my first full task using a software I had never used before. All my colleagues were going through the task easily and I was struggling trying to figure out how to draw a line at an angle.
I remember coming home one day and telling my mom that work was hard. The tasks were easy but executing them was just so hard for me because I didn’t really know how to use the software. I felt so bad about myself because when other people were starting their second task on the project, I was still figuring out the first one. During that week alone, I wanted to quit so many times and I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting it!
I eventually managed to finish it and then started working on my second project. Yet again, the task is easy but the execution has really been killing me. I remember coming back home after a really bad work day, hormones all over the place and juts balling my eyes out because why even did I decide to get into engineering!
This post, is for anyone just starting out at their very first new job and those struggling with belonging in a new work environment. This post is for me.
While I struggled with all these things, I kept reminding myself of how I needed to be patient with myself and how I needed to show myself grace. I reminded myself to go easy on me. Here is why.
I Don’t Really Know Anything, But I Should Be Willing To Learn
Okay. Not anything. I made it through 4 years of university so I definitely know something. However, it is okay to not know things. That’s one challenge I found myself facing. I like to know things and not knowing was just stressing me out. So I had to accept my lack of knowledge but not dwell in it.
One thing about me, however, is I will always be willing to learn. Be it stuff about my job, religion, social justice, etc. I’m always willing to learn and so even though I would go back home to complain to anyone who would listen, I’d still sit and read up on everything. Doing whatever it takes to learn. Also, asking 10000 questions. My boss knows me as the girl who will ask questions. If I haven’t been to his office in days, he comes to ask why I have been quiet or why he hasn’t been seeing me. Before, I used to worry that maybe I annoy him with my questions. That never stopped me though because I’m just trying to be good at what I do. My willingness to learn has always made up for my lack of knowledge and I believe that is one of the things that ensures I’m always given work to do.
I Have Six Months Experience, They Have Ten
This is not me trying to make myself feel better. Okay. Who am I kidding? It is. I used to feel so bad about not being able to draw things or design as quickly as people who have been working professionally in the industry for years. This was until I reminded myself that I’ve literally been working this job for less than six months. It is almost impossible for me to be as skilled or as knowledgeable as they are. They have learnt and gathered so much over the years.
Thinking like this helped me feel better about myself and definitely lessened the pressure I was feeling. It will most likely take me a lot less than 10 years to learn what they learnt in 10 years but I’m not there right now and that is okay. I have learnt so much in my time here and I’m grateful for that. I’m definitely more experienced than when I got here.
7 months in and I’m not complaining about being behind anymore. I just complain about being tired and not sleeping enough but I am way past putting so much unnecessary pressure on myself. I am learning and that’s okay.
I don’t write much about my profession but I do intend to create a section for it. I will be giving tips on internship as a graduate because compared to being a student intern, this is a whole different ball game. I can’t wait to share more on this!
What was/is your experience like working as an intern in your field? Please leave a comment and let me know!
Thanks for reading!