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A step into the real world is always shocking; especially in an unfamiliar city. Traveling to Washington D.C. in order to participate in an internship program was one of the toughest decisions I have made. First, it would mean spending the summer away from my family. Secondly it’s the summer before my final season of competitive college golf, and I have already learned I will not be playing very much here. Lastly it is an unpaid position. This was a huge factor considering I am 99% financially independent.
I realize this is supposed to be a reflection of the internship, but I feel these facts show the atmosphere around the internship when I was first starting. I am in an unfamiliar place and very unsure of my decision. Even now I question whether it was the correct choice. The first day on the job I was thrown straight into the fire. My supervisor and I spent 20 minutes touring the office, then I was shown to my desk where I was assigned the task of working through a loan underwrite for a loan renewal due at the end of the week.
The task before me included analyzing a financial statement from the balance sheet to a cash flows statement. With a meeting with my supervisor later that same day (to clarify this is still Day 1), I put a report together talking about the financial stability of a company and explained my reasoning for my review. Attached to this report was a risk assessment worksheet I was also tasked with filling out. She was not pleased with what I brought back. We spent the next hour or so talking about how I was wrong from top to bottom! I think she began realizing what I already knew – this was my first day and I did not know much about the loan industry. She proceeded to teach me a little more of what to look at rather than berate my efforts. The second time through was a little better, and I think she was more pleased with my work.
The first week was a little tough. I heard of my friends having pot luck and working with other interns or leaving early. Meanwhile I was stuck in my office 9 hours a day that first week under strict deadlines to get reports in. I was exhausted and beaten down, and at this point completely regretting my decision.
The first weekend I spent a lot of time in prayer asking for help and encouragement. My phone lit up one morning, and it was a group message from the other LCU interns. Somebody saying we needed to go to dinner for my birthday, which I had completely forgotten about. We spent that night eating dinner together and walking through the National Mall and visiting the monuments along the way. My outlook changed that night. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was time I started acting like it. I stopped worrying about how the summer would ruin my budget or how much work it all is. It will be a challenge and that is what I live for. The search to push myself is the reason I chose LCU in the first place, or play golf, or chose the field of accounting, and ultimately why I am in D.C.
With that new outlook, I viewed my internship as another level to complete in this game called life. I began seriously seeking out answers and looking at deadlines as something fun to try to make instead of something stressful. Now I want to know everything about the loan industry and become an expert – that is my challenge, learning as much as I can this summer. At the end of the day I get to come back and hangout with my roommates and my classmates and live in Washington D.C!
This second week has gone well. It has been a lot of data entry. I have been looking through audits, putting together financial statements, and entering them in a computer program. My supervisor has recently emailed me and wants a report on a loan partner finished by next week, and I am excited. It is not an easy internship, but I realize I would be disappointed if it was. I am here to prepare for my future. I believe this is a fantastic step in the right direction.
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