|12 Jul 2021|
Moellyn Ramos Yetsko: My internship experience
For 9 months and running, I’ve been an intern at an insurtech startup based in Munich. As I am soon reaching my one-year mark, I’ve taken some time to reflect on my experiences that have led to both professional and personal growth.
My first week was a learning curve and a lot to take in. A startup is a very fast-paced environment. I was intimidated on my first day, but by the end of the day I had written down in my journal:
“All in all, nerves are gone and replaced by excitement...okay maybe not TOTALLY gone, but can’t wait to be back in the office!”
I wanted to start an internship journal to be able to go back and see my growth. In my journal, I have my notes, record what I do in a day, and write down my reflections after each workday. This wasn’t something asked for by my bosses but more of a personal decision so that in moments like these I can go back and giggle at what a baby I was. I highly recommend it for those considering interning.
My role started in marketing with a focus on social media platforms. Given there was no formal internship program at my startup, a lot of the responsibility fell on me to decide what direction(s) I wanted to concentrate on. As time went on I saw various aspects of the business and sparked an interest in design. I brought this up with my boss and she was very open to me interning in both, which is what I’m currently working on. Requesting this change in roles wasn’t easy for me.
In my head, asking to be part of design felt like I was asking for too much from the company. I wasn’t sure if they would be on board and I feared rejection. I’m not going to lie, it took me a minute to finally decide to make my move, but after I had seen a colleague get promoted and asked him out of curiosity how he did it, he responded with an “I just asked”. That’s when I decided, it’s my turn. I didn’t ask for a promotion, but I asked my boss what I wanted at that moment and she happily accepted. In fact, she thought it was a great idea and was super supportive. This was one of the first and biggest lessons I learned at the startup and of course, I made sure to add it to my journal:
“You put your future, your promotions, your job in your own hands...I won’t let myself forget”
And best believe I have never let myself forget. I’ve taken away so much from my internship thus far that it has been a struggle to break them down to share, but I’ve tried and I’ve narrowed it down to three main overarching lessons.
Environment is everything.
What made me fall in love with my job is the people I work with and the energy, passion, and positive vibes they bring to the office. Even as a fresh hire, more specifically a freshly hired intern, I felt very comfortable expressing my opinions and that is something I will not take for granted.
Even with team members split between England, the US, and Germany we’ve managed to form a close bond. A friendship. I’ve found people that I can lean on and spend time with both professionally and personally. This open environment is what makes my workdays feel less like work and more like a creative collaboration.
With that said, what floats my boat might not float yours. So understanding what environment you thrive best in and making sure to go off of that is so important because the environment is everything and people's attitudes and work ethic is contagious. This could be what completely changes one person's experience from others. So don’t sleep on that.
You have to learn and you have to learn fast.
I was not ready. I had some general knowledge regarding marketing and design but there was still so much that I had to learn and fast. Guess what? That’s okay. That’s more than okay. I’m an intern. I’m there to gain experience and learn. Even if you're not an intern though, in life no one expects you to know everything, but your willingness and motivation to learn are what will set you apart from others.
Don’t hold back.
Working at a startup is great because you're so exposed to every corner of the business. Working at a startup as an intern is even better because you can dip your toes into every department that sparks your interest and see what your strengths, weaknesses, and interests are. It’s so easy to fall into a habit and stick to what you're good at but by doing that you limit your growth.
If I could sum up my internship experience in three words they would be: enlightening, challenging, and invaluable. I’m so lucky that Jane Costley, a Development & Community Relations Manager at an international school in Munich, saw the potential in me and introduced me to my current company. With the transferable skills I’ve gained, as well as the memories I will cherish forever, I can safely say I’m taking away fulfilling lessons and experiences during my internship. I highly encourage everyone to take the opportunity and do an internship. Even if it is not your dream job or industry, you will gain so much both professionally and personally.