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Student Perspective: Connecting with other intern and co-ops

This entry features guest writer, Brittany Niles, who is a junior chemical engineering student...

Connecting with other interns and co-ops can be very beneficial to your experience-both in and out of the office. How easy or enjoyable it is to connect varies greatly between companies. The number/type of interns, company environment, housing setup, and social opportunities all play a role. In any setting, building relationships with coworkers can improve your entire experience.

I have experienced two very different internship programs and benefited from building relationships with other interns in both. BP's Toledo Oil Refinery typically has four interns at a time. When I interned there last year, there were only three of us. We all sat in the same office and worked together on many assignments. This setup made it very easy for us to get to know each other quickly and establish lasting friendships. Work became more enjoyable, and we spent time together in the evenings when we otherwise wouldn't have had anyone to spend time with while living in Toledo. The relationships I built even came in handy almost a year later during my second internship at another company...

The second company I interned with was Procter and Gamble. P&G is headquartered in Cincinnati and heavily recruits from OSU's engineering program. They have hundreds of interns every summer, most of which live together on Xavier's campus. Unlike my previous internship, I shared an office with full-time employees, but there were many interns all over the building I worked in. The summer was full of networking events for interns to meet fellow employees and each other. It was easy to meet other interns, but building permanent relationships required more effort.

I also connected with a friend from my internship at BP. He was the only person I knew in Cincinnati at the beginning of my internship and offered to show me around the area. He introduced me to his friends, and gave me advice on what to do/where to go. I would have been lost for the first few weeks without his help. Continuing the friendships I made from my first internship motivated me to have the same experience the second time around.

Connecting with other interns may come easily or you might have to put in some extra effort depending on the work environment. Either way it's important to be aware of opportunities to build friendships with other interns to improve your work experience and make your free time outside of the office more enjoyable.

"Communication--the human connection--is the key to personal and career success."
-Paul J. Meyer

Authored by an ECS guest.