The Account of One's Internship Experience

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In the field of engineering courses, it is very essential that students not only learn and hone their skills within the four pillars of their classrooms through the theory-based lectures of professors but also acquire experiential learning as well. Engineering requires or demands a lot of skills that is best acquired through real-life or actual situations, and one easiest way to do it is through internship programs that let students promote a lifelong learning. Participating in an internship program is very vital as not only does it allow students to fully immerse themselves into their chosen career, with the real world applications through hands on projects that they may or may not be exposed to in their classes, but also allow them to explore other disciplines they may have never knew they were interested in. On the other hand, it is also beneficial for firms as they can not only gain additional manpower for arduous projects but can benefit from a fresh mind with new ideas that is likely eager to learn and put classroom theories into practice.

Internship programs are a great way for students to gain opportunity to develop and refine their engineering skills by working on significant, open ended, team-based engineering design. It allows students to cultivate deep technical skills and the ability to be systems thinkers; to be capable and skilled in bringing creativity and innovation to design and problem-solving; to be independent learners, able to reinvest themselves throughout their careers; and to be effective communicators and team players in their professional and personal lives. Though lectures are perhaps the most prevalent way to teach students, they contribute to a passive form of learning and are not conducive to active learning.

Last summer, I was very blessed to be able to spend my internship at RENOL General Engineering Services and Construction. It was both a very rewarding and stressful at times for me and my co-interns. It was a bit nerve-wracking experience for me as I was really used to having a set amount of time in which everything needs to be completed. However, at RENOL we are usually given different tasks to complete without any set deadlines. This is the place the pressure kicked in on the grounds that I didn't have an idea of how to pace myself. For me, this implied putting in additional hours such as doing my task even when it’s our break time. I was appreciative for these additional hours since I got the chance to see the whole procedure of what should be done when due dates are drawing nearer.

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After a couple of weeks, I felt comfortable with my pace of work. This is where the internship was rewarding because I was able to learn something new and improve my technical skills, communication skills, and time management. Overall, my experience has been rewarding and I feel much more prepared for the real world. There are a lot of things that I learned during my internship: First is to dress professionally, most companies want their employees to reflect the company name and dressing professionally can create a reliable and responsible persona; Secondly is to not be afraid to go with your gut, Many projects or tasks you will be given do not have a direct answer. You were chosen for your position for a reason. This is where you should show your creativity and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: It is as self-explanatory as you read it. Hey, you are the intern and you are here to learn. By asking questions, it shows that you are truly engaging in your work and you care about the outcome. Learn something new each day: Being fresh into the real world, learning the professional side of engineering is going to be new. There are going to be coworkers or even friends that have experience that can help you. Having a mentor is a huge plus because he or she has seen it all and will guide you in the right direction. And lastly is to come in early and leave late, You are a baby fish in the ocean and you need to work your way up. Coming in early and staying late not only gives you more time to complete your work, but shows the dedication you have to the job. People do recognize the time you put in. Because of all the learnings I acquired I have realized the importance of my internship. I realized that experiential learning is one of the most important components of education that needs to be emphasized. The knowledge gained by students through experiential learning from internships in construction constitutes significant and uniquely valuable preparation for the requirements of their future professional practice in that field; much of the learning which is gained during these internships cannot be attained in any other way, especially not in the classroom, and a valuable outcome of construction internships is “learning how to learn,” a situation which deserves utmost attention.

I also believe that intelligence is not an innate characteristic of the individual but arises as a product of the interaction between the person and his or her environment. In my internship day it was very evident that communication, management and control, problem-solving, and leadership are the among the pivotal knowledge, skills, and abilities required of future construction managers. Because the engineering field is about creating designs and executing projects, not just analyzing and coming up with theories. You can spend years of studying, performing calculations for university assignments and making hypothetical designs yet never grow as an engineer. In order to truly understand why calculations are made, what is crucial for a design, how to deal with clients and their demands, you need to spend some time at a company and see how these are handled in real life.

During my work experience at RENOL, I was fortunate enough to have experienced firsthand and learned, many different sides of what goes into a project, the general process of how a project is initially planned, developed and completed; as well as how much work and detail goes into every stage. Another valuable lesson I have learned during these 12 weeks, were the many different types of work an Engineer has to perform, which in turn, have provided me with more insight into the different types of roles and responsibilities that I could perform, as a Civil Engineer. Reflecting back to my first day at RENOL, it was one of the most memorable days of my time at work. After being introduced to everyone, I was handed a tender to work on, in which they had asked me for recommendations to improve certain aspects of the project wherever I see fit, as well as my opinions on the project as an entirety. They were very open and happy for me to contribute as much as I wanted to and were open to any suggestions and ideas. This instantly made me feel comfortable and definitely made me feel as though I was part of the team.

During the first week of work completing the tender, I was overwhelmed by the work and the responsibilities that were placed on me, but with the help of my supervisors and the directors, who have had years of experience in the industry, I felt more confident and supported as I knew my work would be double checked and any uncertainties were explained. By observing and learning from them, I managed to pick up tips and learned different types of skills, from learning to communicate and deal with other companies, to reading and deciphering many different types of plans. Those hands-on experiences, RENOL, help students not only learn valuable skills, but also create opportunities to network and build professional relationships – all of which contribute to success after graduation.

The best part about the entire experience is that I feel I have a better perspective about the industry, have developed my skills and have made lasting connections with my fellow colleagues. I look forward to continuing my engineering career with Primera, or a similar company, on a full-time basis after graduation. Without doing an internship, you might have a very different idea of what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Therefore, spending a semester in the line of work that you intend to grow in is crucial to making a realistic decision about your future career. Do you enjoy being on a working site? Is an office job appropriate for you? Are calculations appealing to you or do you prefer project management? These and many other questions you will be able to answer after your traineeship to help you shape your future.

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