Good morning S4 and S5 student! I’m Chris Wong, a graduate of the school. When I was at your age, I was offered an internship experience. It not only broadened my horizons by letting me have a taste of working in a company like adults do, but it also equipped me with different sets of skills I now find very practical. I hope you would be inspired to join the internship programme, it does no harm at all.
To start with, internships help you pave your career path. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the countless career paths you could choose? Have you ever felt lost or had the experience of questioning your own abilities or passion? That’s totally normal. I was in your position a few years ago too. I didn’t know if I would like a creative job or a conventional one. As a result, while choosing the field to study in university, I felt puzzled. Having studied Business, Accounting and Financial Studies in my senior secondary years, I made up my mind to give myself working in an accounting firm a go. This experience added fuel to my university entrance and later, application for a job in accounting firm. Before being employed, I already had a rough idea about the day-to-day operation of such firms and could take the job like a duck to water! I was able to adapt to the working environment and get the hang of the routine very well. Thanks to this edge, my department head even asked me to provide guidance to other newbies.
Moreover, internships let you apply skills you have learnt at schools. Writing formal writings, such as a letter of invitation or a letter of adjustments and business writings such as agenda or meeting minutes when I was still in secondary school feel very distant and unreal for me. After all, we were just imagining scenarios in our minds. During the internship, I was asked to write a letter to ask for sponsorship for an event. I thought I could have done it alone but no, I had to communicate with different departments beforehand when I was writing the letter. I recalled what I’ve learnt in English lessons and made the effort to use an encouraging tone that will appeal to the receiver. Without an application process, I would not have gained a solid idea of what I’ve been taught. It also taught me the importance of being flexible and that I shouldn’t just follow the written rules in textbooks.
Last but not least, by meeting more people from all walks of life during internship, you can extend your connections. Your seniors could be your mentor, giving you advice on university application or job seeking. They are a book in real life with fascinating stories to tell. Their experiences are definitely guiding lights. I am still in close contact with my mentor, she not only teaches me skills for work, but also shares with me her personal life. I’m glad that our age difference does not hinder our development of friendship!
I would not have guessed that I would be benefited by an internship programme in that many ways prior to joining. On the first day, the human resources manager introduced me to the team. I was shy and timid that I would not want to communicate with other colleagues. Even when I encountered something I was unsure of, I dared not raise any questions, as I guessed that they would be unwilling to reply to me or even find me annoying. Such a thought led me to my first mistake. I was asked to call a client for a meeting to review his accounts. It’s my fault that I did not listen closely enough to my manager’s command and told the client that wrong time and date for the meeting! When the client arrived, everyone was surprised because we had not had the documents ready yet. They all had their eyes on me. It was then I realised I had made an irreversible mistake. I sincerely apologised to the client, offered him some compensation and arranged another meeting with him. My manager and the client both accepted my apology. From then on, when I had uncertainties, I would double-check with my colleagues to make sure that I was doing the task accordingly. I also listened more attentively and would carry a note pad everywhere I go to jot down important reminders. As I have spent more time there, the colleague and I built a close bond. We would chit-chat about our lives in lunch hour. The internship experience shaped me to be a responsible team player and a listener. If you think that working nine-to-five is dull, it’s certainly not. There were new tasks to be completed every day. The sense of achievement will even make you smile blissfully.
Are you thinking about applying for an internship now? There are a few points to note. First of all, you might want to ask yourself what your area of interest is. Then, you could choose that field to work in. Even though your work might not be confined to your interest, you can meet like minds. Furthermore, you could ask yourself which type of job you like. If you like to communicate with people, you might choose to take up a more people-oriented job.
To sum up, internships provide you with an unforgettable experience and is very eye-opening. Only by having a taste of internship on your own would you truly understand what I meant. I would be pleased if you are inspired to join one after hearing my speech. Thank you.