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Four Things I've Learned in Four Days
As the summer heats up and the stress of the end of the year cools down, campus has become pretty quiet with students leaving for their summer adventures. Some students left for home to help on the farm, some left to learn and work in foreign countries, and some, like me, have started their summer internships.
In my first week as the College of ACES Communications and Marketing intern, I have already started gaining experience in writing, alumni relations, and social media management, which are all major components of this job. However, I think the most important thing I’ve learned is something that is applicable in any job: how to be a good employee. My boss may read this and think, “Does she know the definition of good?”, and you might read this and think, “What does an intern know about being a good employee on her fourth day?” I’ve always thought there is something to be said about the opinions of a newbie with a fresh outlook on a situation. So I now present to you… Everything You Need to Know about Being a Good Employee. Disclaimer: It’s only my fourth day so there is actually a little more that you really need to know.
1. Be professional.
Everyone seems to hate hearing the word “professionalism” because we associate it with dressing up in clothes that aren’t comfortable and pretending to enjoy doing so. Although I think it’s important to look your best, I believe the most important aspects of professionalism are being passionate about your work, being enjoyable to work with, and being eager to learn more. A wardrobe full of business suits will not make you professional if you don’t act the part.
2. Ask questions.
This is such a simple one, yet many of us, including me, are often too proud to say that we don’t know how to do something. You don’t look dumb because you had to ask. Asking questions does not mean you don’t know what you’re doing; it means you want to improve the quality of your work. Asking the right questions will get you much further than asking none.
3. Show up.
Showing up isn’t simply being present at work. My hometown’s basketball team lives by the saying “All In.” When you show up to work, be all in. Your best work surfaces when you are dedicated to what you are doing. Being all in means you are not above any job or task because you are committed to seeing your company or organization succeed and will complete any assignment, no matter how big or small, to make that happen.
4. Be kind.
This is absolutely the most important tip I have for you. Saying please, thank you, or good job or greeting someone with a smile and a “hey, how are you?” can turn someone’s day around. A positive work environment will improve your quality of work as well as the quality of work of those around you. Be someone that people are happy to see and truly enjoy working with.
These four things I’ve learned in four days as an intern are objectives that all employees and employers should actively be doing not only in the workplace, but in life in general. Being professional and passionate, asking questions, showing up and being dedicated, and being kind shows the world the best version of you. So whether you’re starting your internship, wandering the streets of Italy, or helping your dad work cattle, try trusting the advice from this intern. It hasn’t steered me wrong… yet.