The Value of an Internship

Written by guest blogger, Sydney Beason

As my summer internship comes to an end at Greater Gift and I transition into my first year of college at Furman University, I can now spend some time reflecting on my time as the Program Coordinator Intern. The reflection is a process that is just beginning, and the experience will be something I continue to look back upon throughout my life. The reason I will continue to reflect is because I believe I will continue to discover the advantages I gained from the experience for many years to come. While the summer may be over, the value will continue to grow. A great internship, for both the company or organization and for the intern, is like a successful long-term investment in that time only increases the beneficial impact. The lessons I have learned from my experience will continue to impact the decisions I make just as I hope the new ideas I brought to Greater Gift will continue to be used and applied. Here are some of the lessons I have taken from the experience thus far and I look forward to adding more as I continue through my career:

Perspective: My internship has truly had in impact on my perspective. I have gained insight into the health world that is far beyond what a textbook can explain. The viewpoint I acquired can only be learned through the exploration of different health focused organizations. A concept that bleeds far beyond just the health realm is the meaning of “working in Silos.” We are most successful when we branch out of our individual “silos.” I witnessed the greatest impact when organizations got outside of just their office area and collaborated with other companies or nonprofits. It is so easy to get focused on your work within your own “silo,” but opportunities arise most when we work together by combining resources, ideas, and efforts. Working with Greater Gift has taught me not to be afraid to knock on the door across the hall and see how you all can work together to benefit both missions. With organizations that involve health, everyone has the same end goal, improving public health, so why not work together to help each other reach the goal faster?

Experience: An internship provides real work experience that cannot be taught within the pages of a textbook. Textbooks can not teach you how to wear business clothes every day, make small talk with strangers in your building, or optimize the hours of your work day. These are just some of the lessons one learns when he or she gets outside of the classroom and into the working world. My internship has provided me with the experience I need to go back into the classroom and get the most out of my time. I will learn all that I can from the textbooks so that when I do return to the work world, I have the tools I need to succeed.

Confidence: My time at Greater Gift has given me confidence: Confidence in myself and confidence in the future of Clinical Research. I have witnessed the impact people and researchers are having in the world of medicine. I have heard stories and statistics about the drugs in development with a goal of going to market because of clinical trials. I have learned that clinical research is the future of medicine and it is the reason our pharmacy shelves are not empty. The confidence I have gained will help me find a way I can continue to make an impact. I use the word continue because anyone who has contributed to clinical trials has already made an impact. By working with Greater Gift, I know I have made an impact. But the impact is a sparkler compared to the firework of an impact clinical research will continue to have. Clinical research is the reason we are where we are today but is also the key to the future of medicine. There is a place for everyone in clinical research which means everyone has the opportunity to take a part in writing the future.

Exploration: Internships allow people to explore fields before committing. I have confirmed that I want to be involved in public health in some capacity before I start my secondary education. This clarity provides me with extra motivation in and outside the classroom to start paving my pathway in the health world. While my path will most likely not be linear, I have the confidence that I am on the right one for me. I have learned from many people in the health world that often how they got where they are today is not how they envisioned but keeping an open mind and allowing themselves to explore options led to them finding their place.

Teamwork: I have been on many Varsity and Club athletic teams, but this summer I joined a new team: the team at Greater Gift. I had no idea how much team work is involved in such an operation. The best products result from collaboration and peer review. Communication is key. So, while I may not have been using the soccer technique I learned on the field, I truly saw the value of leaning how to work with others towards a common goal. I am thrilled I got to be a part of such an incredible team.

Winston-Salem: I have lived in Winston-Salem my entire life and have never had as much appreciation and respect for the city as I do at the end of my summer internship. Winston-Salem is thriving. By working downtown in the Innovation Quarter, I have become aware of so much more that is happening within our city. Winston-Salem is making an impact daily in the advancement of medicine through clinical research. Just in our city, more than 10,000 people participated in clinical trials this past year, leading to many drugs making their way to market. I encourage people to find ways to keep up with what is happening in their city. Winston-Salem, you have impressed me.

Time: My time at Greater Gift has flown by because I have enjoyed every moment of what I have been doing. People say, “You never work a day in your life if you enjoy your job.” Working at a company as rewarding as Greater Gift and one that I have a strong passion for is fulfilling. I hope to continue to find ways that truly optimize my time and are as fulfilling as my experience at Greater Gift.

Gratitude: Greater Gift is an organization whose mission revolves around gratitude. Throughout my internship, I have witnessed the power of gratitude and the impact of the words “Thank You”. It has been my pleasure to be a part of thanking clinical trial participants while improving global health. Greater gift has thanked over 100,000 clinical research contributors which means they have donated over 100,000 vaccinations to more than 100,000 children. Our goal is to thank 500,000 clinical research contributors by 2020. Greater Gift, I thank you. Thank you for giving me an incredible opportunity this summer and thank you for practicing gratitude every single day.

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