Anyone can go to class, look at a powerpoint, take a standardized test, learn the course material, and (hopefully) pass a class. But it takes a whole different set of skills to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom into hard skills you can use in the real world. Luckily, ASU sets it’s students up very nicely in this aspect.
My academic studies have been very useful in my everyday professional life. Washington D.C. is obviously a very politically charged area so having a background and basic understanding of politics and how the government works is very important. My organization specifically works underneath FLOTUS so it is important to know how the different administrations impact us directly. It is also important to know who and what organizations support specific parties, because often times they’re more likely to be attracted to our organization when they have a person of their party in office.
I previously had to take a class, just as a general requirement, that was all about tech literacy. Through this class I learned how to give presentations with different platforms and how to use different digital tools and resources. I also learned how to thoroughly use Microsoft Excel. This has probably been the most beneficial skill that I’ve learned. I have been at my internship for about two and half weeks now and there has not been one single day that I have not used excel.
Most professors at ASU want their students to get more out of their class than just a grade. They want to help them become knowledgeable and employable professionals. Even if students don’t realize it, there are many things that professors do to help set them up for success. For example, most professors require their students to send them very professional emails. This is an amazing skill to have in any field. Also, not all, but most professors are very strict on deadlines for handing in assignments and getting to class on time. This sets students up to be punctual which is very important. Most classes also require that students use Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Pages, Google Docs, etc. Most jobs require that applicants have an understanding on how to use some of these platforms so these definitely help prepare students for jobs and internships.
For students considering an internship in Washington D.C., sometimes it seems very far fetched. Often times students may think, “there are tons of other people from around the country applying for the same internships, and they’re probably more qualified or have more experience.” It may be scary going all the way across the country, (for those readers from ASU and the west coast specifically). My biggest advice would be don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It can get intimidating reading job descriptions and trying to figure out how to transfer the skills you’ve learned from a job in the retail and service industries, into a professional job in our nation’s capital. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are many people who can help transfer these skills, and by the time you are done typing up your cover letter and resume you are going to be very impressed with yourself. Everything in life is going to be a learning experience, so never get discouraged. Just learn how to take the negative things and turn them into something positive.
Also for students considering an internship in D.C., I would suggest looking into the different resources around that can help with building a resume and revising cover letters. Also career services is amazing as far as helping prepare for phone interviews and how to dress professionals and act appropriately in certain business settings. You can never be too prepared so take advantage of all this great help!
Since my last post i’ve learned how to better manage my time here in D.C.. I figured out that if I do my homework for my online class during my lunch then I can go explore when I get off work. Also if I manage my time efficiently on the weekends I can hopefully hit most of the museums here that I want to go too. Whenever I get lazy I have to remind myself that i’m only in D.C. for the summer for a few more weeks. It’s going by really fast so I have to fit in as much D.C. stuff as I can 🙂