I was told I would have an intern for the summer a couple weeks before she arrived. My initial excitement turned to anxiety quickly. At first, my thought was “yes, I have a helper”. Then I remembered my intern from 2 years ago. Very sweet girl who just finished her first year of the Construction Management Degree Program at CalPoly. She was very soft spoken and extremely naïve. Showing her how to complete the most simple task always turned into a notepad full of notes she had written with an additional 20 questions.
I started thinking about how I would schedule time to show her things in my already hectic schedule and still try to maintain a less than 10 hour day. The pressure I would have to make sure that the time I spent with her was actually helping and teaching her, not just making her my administrative assistant as most people tend to do to their interns. I soon came to the realization that to be responsible for an intern is almost like being responsible for a child. Although my intern is almost 20, they come to you for guidance, training, teachings, information and support. They watch how you interact with your subcontractors, inspectors, design team, clients and coworkers. You have to be cognizant of dropping “F” bombs, be aware of the time you give them to digest the information you just dumped on them for the 15th time today and aware of when they might just need 5 minutes to themselves. Keeping them entertained and has a positive feeling about the atmosphere and the work we are doing since they are planning on spending the rest of their working life doing the exact same work, or thereabouts.
And I thought being a single parent to my daughter her entire life was hard. Nope.
Having an intern is just like having a child. This person depends on you; any good parent would not let them down. Maybe I took having an intern too seriously, however after having a daughter of my own, I look at things differently I suppose. I picture my intern as my own daughter and teach her things I would want my own daughter to be taught in her internship. Has this made my daily job harder? Hell yes! However, I have also learned something extraordinary from this experience, something my intern actually taught me. I have learned to be more relaxed, efficient, effective, patient and focused.
So a huge thank you to my intern, who despises being called “intern” because her name is Casey!