I think my Pitt experience has been unique in preparing me for this experience – I have been able to use what I have learned academically as well as in my extracurriculars to be successful for this internship. Most notably, my job description for this internship does not exactly align perfectly with my academic experience-being my major in economics and political science. Instead, I have used more marketing and event planning skills from my time at Pitt Program Council, especially as I plan from scratch a seminar that will be taking place in three weeks (we call that a time crunch folks!). While I learned concrete and they-don’t-teach-you-this-in-school skills through Pitt Program Council, my academic experience has come up through softer skills done at my internship. This mainly involves conducting research and writing up reports, and doing it all in a timely manner. Being able to comb through tens and hundreds of internet pages to find maybe two to three lines of information is a tedious (and often annoying) task that I am not unfamiliar with. Writing research paper after research paper instead of having a sit down exam, as a political science major does, is something I have done my fair share of.
My academic experience at Pitt, particularly my time with the Institute of Politics, helped with the smooth transition of working in an office space. The Institute of Politics was a class/internship in which a group of us worked at different offices of elected officials, and I was placed in Councilman Daniel Lavell’s office. I went into that having no idea what to expect, with no idea of what my expectations were. Something similar could be said of this experience. However, working through the IOP got me more accustomed to a semi-professional office setting (it was still fairly casual), and what to do with myself during downtime, how to ask the right questions, and how to get the most out of my experience. On the other, my experience in the Pitt Program Council office has continuously helped me to learn how to work with others, and adjust to different leadership styles and positions. It has also helped me err on the more professional side, as I had to maintain the public image of the organization, and occasionally conduct interviews, have business meetings with other clubs, and interact with Pitt faculty, staff, and administration.
One thing that I can definitely say my academic experience has not prepared me for is how to write a good, professional, business email. While this more or less tends to fall in the camp of rhetoric and language, I have not formally thought about these two things in an academic setting in over four years! Which is certainly a shame. The first time I drafted an email, my supervisor sat me down and went over all of it with me. He made some really great points, from word choice, to persuasive language, to the length of sentences. While some of the guidelines only came from practice, I just wish I had that practice before coming to work, and before I knew I would be sending out about 100 business professional emails over the course of a week. To help bridge this gap, I’ve reverted back to my AP Lang days. That is, it takes me quite a long time to write a sentence (that is…a good, business professional sentence). I think about each and every word, and whether or not each one fulfills a purpose and adds to the sentence. Another hard part about business professional emails is the lack of frills-and in case you can’t tell, I love a good frill (and a good run on sentence too apparently).
In other news, I had a great time staying in Berlin this weekend. I actually saw my friend from Prague once again, despite seeing her last weekend on my trip to Prague. What a time! We toured around Berlin as much as we could, and by that I mean I basically brought her to the same places our orientation tour had brought us, with me remembering significantly fewer details, and sometimes complaining about my Birkenstock tan. This was followed by a wholesome afternoon of paddle-boarding and bathing in the sun. We also finally took the plunge and tried out some sushi and Vietnamese food in the area, which I can confirm was incredibly delicious. Overall, it was a rather wholesome weekend, and I can’t wait to find another crevice of the city to hang out in next week, go to a museum by myself, or spend another day in the park!