Stepping foot into my internship on day 1, I was nervous, excited, and a bit intimidated.
Here I was somewhere completely new with new coworkers and a new job, and you're telling me I only arrived in Sydney three days ago?
It was a lot to process at once.
However, I took on the day with a positive mindset and an eagerness to learn. My coworkers were friendly and inclusive, which I really appreciated considering it was my first week and everything was still so brand new to me. Between generous coffees from my coworkers, and getting to know the people in the office, by week three I felt pretty adjusted to things.
I worked for a non-profit charity called Aspect, short for Autism Spectrum Australia, that focused on fundraising for those on the spectrum, specifically children. There were multiple teams within Aspect, and I worked on the fundraising team. I got to help out with donation forms, contacting donors, and even assisting in encouraging fundraisers to raise money and get excited for the City2Surf marathon coming up in mid August. My coworkers began to feel like my friends, and when one of these friends had a birthday dinner I was invited to, I felt included, appreciated, and most importantly, a sense of fitting in.
I felt myself fitting in within the workplace, and by week four it was second nature to me. The coffee shop downstairs would know my order I'd get every day: large dark chocolate mocha. Alex and I would go for afternoon coffee runs. Lesley and I would grab sushi together. Monika, Keri and I would take chocolates from the kitchen when we felt like getting a sweet treat. Janice invited me to Keri's birthday dinner. Imogen and I traveled to the city my first week at Aspect where I took notes at a conference. Fran and I would talk about my home and the things I missed but also appreciated so much more now that I was away. Katrina and I would talk about our pets, and I would show Everett pictures of my dog, Cleo. Lucie welcomed me with open arms into the company, and I couldn't be more thankful for this.
Throughout my time at Aspect, I felt welcomed and like my voice mattered. I was respected in meetings, as well as in the workplace. One of my favorite days was our team building day, when we painted lemons at an art studio and ate a delicious brunch at a nearby cafe. It was bitter sweet leaving my coworkers, especially since after eight weeks they had begun to feel like family to me. We all went for an after work drink on my last day, and shared our goodbye hugs as the evening came to a close.
My biggest piece of advice?
Embrace your internship and absorb every second of it. Say yes to going to Bondi beach with your coworker, or getting dinner for someone's birthday. Go get a coffee, even if it's your third one of the day—sometimes the most impactful and memorable conversations you have with your coworkers are simply on your way to the coffee shop across the street.
Adjusting takes time, so don't freak out if things are a bit awkward or even frustrating at first. Continue to have a positive mindset and outlook, and you'll begin to see your internship in ways you never imagined.
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Hey everyone! I'm Elisabeth Grosscup, and I'm a junior studying Psychology with a Creative Writing minor at Auburn University! I'm from a small town in Alabama near the beach, and a fun fact about me is that I can say the alphabet backward!