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The Benefits of Internships: A High School Student's Perspective

iStock_000048324472XLarge.jpgEditor’s note: This blog post was written by Erick Mendieta, a junior at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. Yoh and Day & Zimmermann participate in this important high school intern program. We asked Erick to share his perspective with employers as an intern. Here are his thoughts.

My name is Erick Mendieta. I am an intern at Day & Zimmermann, and this is my second year working for Day & Zimmermann and Yoh. I attend Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, and it’s a school where one day a week, students go out to real jobs and gain real-life experiences, for real wages. This allows students to pay more than half of their school tuition. Students work at leading Philadelphia businesses like Comcast, Independent Blue Cross, FMC, The Philadelphia Zoo, hospitals, accounting firms, law firms, and many others like Day & Zimmermann. During my time here, I found many benefits to interning, and I have learned so much by participating in this program. 



Building Skills for My Future

I am very proud to say that I am only a junior in high school and I am already an intern for a big company where I am gaining real-life experiences that will help me in the future. This enhances my communication skills, management skills, technology skills, and it disciplines me to become a better student with a bright future.

At first, I didn't have these skills. I was very nervous and shy. I was so shy I wouldn't even go up to my supervisor and ask questions. I would always wait for him to come to me. This year, things have changed. I am now more of an outgoing person. I am willing to put myself out there to experience new ideas and meet new people. This has helped me to build new relationships in the office. I was also able to improve my research and computer skills and got better using Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

It's nice to have new things to challenge me outside of normal school work. I enjoy working with my supervisors and co-workers and have learned so much from them. Even though I am still receiving work, it almost feels like a day off from school!


Adjusting to Office Life

Working at Day & Zimmermann, I've realized how difficult it can be adjusting to working in an office setting. This was particularly difficult for a student my age. I wasn't used to how quiet it is, I didn’t know anyone, and I was a very shy person. It was very hard for me to start a conversation with people I didn't know. It was nerve-racking.

After months passed, my adjust was much better. The quiet became beneficial. It's nice to come to an environment once a week where it's quiet, it makes it easier to get my thoughts together. I also became more comfortable with the other staff members and learned to communicate more, which made work days more interesting and exciting.


The Importance of Student Interns

I think it's important to hire student interns like myself because they gain experience, develop skills, make connections and strengthen their resumes. Students learn about the company and their field and figure out if what they are currently doing is the best option for them. It's a great way to assess their career interest and abilities.

Companies also gain something from hiring student interns, they find future employees. If they see that the intern is going beyond what they expect, the company may want to hire them in future. These companies that hire student interns help make positive futures a more reachable goal for the students invloved.  

I am very grateful to meet the people I work with. I hope to continue growing and expanding the skills that I have learned here which will help me in the future. I am proud to say that I am an intern at Day & Zimmermann and Yoh.




About the Author: Erik Mendieta has been selected for two internships so far at Yoh and aspires to major in mechanical engineering in college. Currently in the 11th Grade, Erik captains his high school's soccer team and is a member of the elite "Starfinder" soccer club. His leadership skills and work ethic are second to none and make him a sound resource for inspiration and motivation in the workplace. 

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