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Over the summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Capital BlueCross, a leading health insurance company located in Harrisburg, Pa. Although my POEs are Health Communication and Psychology, I have worked in Juniata’s marketing department for the last two years, so I decided to intern with Capital BlueCross’ market research team. Little did I know, market research is much different than marketing, so I had a lot to learn! In addition to learning the skills required for market research, I also learned a great deal about myself.
On the first day of the internship, I walked somewhat hesitantly through the big glass doors because, I’ll admit, this was my first time actually seeing the building. My interview was over the phone, so I didn’t see the building until my first day on the job. I was also surprised to find 25 other students waiting in the lobby to begin their internships as well. This was when I discovered that Capital BlueCross has a huge corporate internship program with students employed in almost every department. And here I thought that I would be their only intern, which leads to Lesson #1: Research the company’s internship program a little more so that you are adequately prepared for your first day.
Speaking of research, I would be doing plenty of that over the summer! I learned so many new skills related to Microsoft Office and several other new databases. I also worked on a project with four other interns from different departments on how Capital BlueCross could better engage millennial employees and customers. We were planning on presenting our findings to our managers at the end of the summer, so we knew that we had plenty of time to work on the project. We planned out our weekly goals and paced ourselves accordingly, until one mid-summer day, we were asked to present our research to the CEO, Gary St. Hilaire, within three days of receiving the request. And now, we were scrambling, which brings me to Lesson #2: Be prepared for curveballs. Although we were rushing to compile all of our information, the presentation was definitely a success, thanks to increased effort from everyone involved.
Reflecting on my internship, I am very grateful to have had such a wonderful manager and co-workers. They were very approachable and always willing to help me when I had questions. From this experience, however, I did learn some more about my own workplace preferences. Market research requires long hours at a desk without much interaction with the outside world. Since I am more of a people-person, I asked my manager if I could shadow some other departments. Thankfully, she was very flexible and willing to let me shadow a health educator for two days. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her out in the community, and I even decided that I might want to pursue this field further in graduate school. Lesson #3: Be proactive and get the most out of your internship experience.
All in all, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to intern at Capital BlueCross. Not only did I learn more technical skills, I also learned a lot about myself and my work preferences. My internship was a wonderful experience, and I would definitely recommend it to other students!
Most people are perplexed when I tell them I’m from Los Angeles, CA. They can’t imagine why I would be in quaint Huntingdon, though I’ve pretty much lived here full time for the past three years. So when I accepted a position on campus as one of the Inbound interns, I couldn’t even pretend to be optimistic about spending an entire summer on Juniata College’s campus. But life is what you make it and you definitely get back what you put into any situation.
Campus was silent, there were only a handful of people around, and I was at least 40 minutes from a more populated area. However, Juniata prides itself on its community feel, and I definitely felt that. I made a Facebook group called “JC Summertime,” and to my surprise, there were about 70 students in Huntingdon for the summer. Between my internship and working part-time at the print shop, I made new friends and connections. We had delicious potluck-style bbq’s once or twice a week, volunteered for local organizations, went to State College and Altoona for mini getaways, went bowling and to the movie theatre in town, had social gatherings on Friday nights to relax and unwind, and most importantly, we discovered or introduced to others the many things to do in Huntingdon. And no, that is not a typo, I said “many.” Coming from the city, I’ve never really been an outdoorsy person, but why not give it a try? The scenery here is so beautiful that I was always going on hikes and finding new trails around town and near the Cliffs and Peace Chapel, I exercised at the Thousand Steps, visited the Lincoln Caverns, found GORGEOUS outlooks at the vast Lake Raystown (there’s WAY more than Seven Points Marina), and I tried every single restaurant in the area.
The time passed just as fast as if I was in the city but I just felt more relaxed. Huntingdon can be a culture shock but there are chances to make coming to Juniata the best time of your life. I’ve never regretted my decision to come here, or stay in the middle of nowhere for an entire summer. I’ve chosen to make memories and have great experiences, and anyone can do the same.
High school probably can be looked back on as the good old days, where minimal studying could occur and classes would still be passed with ease. There were no worries in the world because most parents were there to nag and make sure they could proudly watch their child receive that farewell handshake and be handed their diploma. For some, that was sufficient enough in schooling but for others, that was just the start.
Entering the college environment is a whole new universe. Your performance in high school could have been at the top of your class, but now you have the same type of students from all over competing to one day have that one extra part to their resume that will determine they get the job over anyone else. Realizing the importance of not only getting to make new friends, meeting professors that will change the course of your life and exploring new and exciting opportunities but thrown into the mix is also how to advance your future outlook. Building networks and establishing a name for yourself is crucial to succeed in such a competitive job force. That’s a lot of pressure that is placed on you to determine your own destiny. But having the support and available advice at a college such as Juniata, students cannot only enhance their knowledge but also go that extra step further in life.
When needing to build your resume or just seeking hands-on experience, no other college makes it more effortless than Juniata. Not only do they have a Career Services Office that can set you up with shadowing, internships and tips on how to put a competitive edge on your resume but also hold facility and staff’s expertise for research opportunities and answers to questions.
I was able to experience for myself the endless number of opportunities offered and available through the college. I got insight from a friend about a special internship for Juniata students through the Career Services Office. When I went to inquire about it, the director was so helpful and within a month I was a shadowing intern. My internship was at the Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was through a residency program set up in the hospital through Altoona Family Physicians that ran anywhere from 7:00AM-5:00PM on weekdays. The internship was strictly shadowing and more of just getting the students exposed to the typical duties and responsibilities of a family doctor. Because interaction with patients comes with medical students and not undergraduate students, the exposure is limited but so is the knowledge of aspiring medical students. Even so, some of the residents were gracious enough to explain and teach the students about everything that was going on with the patients. I was able to learn and take so much from the experience. Some of the unforgettable moments were witnessing C-sections and a natural birth, learning different suture tying techniques and being allowed to assist in a routine pregnancy check-up. A majority of the time was spent with residents but interaction with the doctors and even medical students was incorporated. This was special for me because they went through the tough schedules and difficult struggles that are faced everyday as a biology undergraduate student. They can relate and reassure that a bad semester or grades that do not live up to your expectations are perfectly alright. Everything will be worth it in the end if you set your heart and mind to it.
Being able to experience this internship with some of my peers was definitely worth a majority of my time winter break. It reassured me that my dream to pursue medical school is the path I want to take with my life. Even though I do not wish to be a family doctor, exposure to this branch of medicine allowed me to narrow my focus down and know that this certain field is not my calling. Opportunities and experience like these are plentiful at Juniata. It’s up to the students to be proactive about their future and start it somewhere. The future is yours, embrace it with open arms and an aspiring heart full of ambitions and a countless number of possibilities will await.