As a Social Work major I am required to participate in a fieldwork internship for both junior and senior year. I can honestly say that I have loved every single one of my classes at St. Thomas, but one can only do so much learning in a classroom. While I was excited to put my “book knowledge” into practice, I was also nervous about transitioning my learning from the classroom into the real world.
My biggest fear was that I’d fail. What if I didn’t meet my agency’s expectations or I couldn’t help my clients enough? I also feared putting in a lot of time and effort and not gaining the professional knowledge and personal growth I needed from this experience. I am sure these are commonly held fears for anyone in a new job or internship, but here are some things I learned that might be helpful to you.
Since my first day at Daily Work I felt welcomed to share my thoughts and opinions in our weekly staff meetings. It was intimidating to speak up in this new situation, but beneficial to both me and to Daily Work. A new perspective can be helpful to your employer because you provide a fresh set of eyes and a clear mind. As a result, you might see areas for improvement or better ways to do things. Don’t be afraid to step up and speak your mind when you have an idea. You might be new, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump right in. They hired you for a reason; be confident in yourself and your ideas!
Life isn’t always easy and we can’t control some of the things we are forced to go through, but we can control how we react. For example, I work with many clients who know very little English, but they don’t let that stop them from looking for work and working hard. My clients’ perseverance inspires me to keep a positive outlook and not let my fears stop me from moving forward and making progress. By truly jumping into this new opportunity, I am experiencing more professional knowledge and personal growth than I ever anticipated!
My last tip for facing a new endeavor is to not have any preconceived notions. Things are rarely what they seem to be at first and by not letting your assumptions cloud your feelings, you will enjoy some great surprises. As it turns out, all of my fears and concerns regarding this internship were 100 percent wrong! By keeping my fears in check and by being a hard-worker and active contributor, I have beaten the new job jitters and I am learning a lot.
These are just a few ways to handle a new job or situation…What advice do you have for our job seekers to help them succeed in their new positions?
This post was written by Margaret Fischer, a social work intern with Daily Work and a junior at St. Thomas University. She wrote it as a reflection about what she is learning about herself and others by interning at Daily Work.