Every college student looks forward to walking across the stage and receiving his or her undergraduate degree. The late nights filled with double espresso shots, the frantic cram sessions during finals week and the insurmountable piles of homework have taken their toll, and graduation can’t come soon enough.
In my last semester, I had the opportunity to intern at MP&F. My previous internship experience included stops at Fletcher Rowley, Inc., U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper’s office and the Tennessee General Assembly. I was convinced I wanted to work in politics, until I interned at MP&F.
As I neared the final weeks at MP&F, I made the decision to apply for the staff associate position. Shortly after graduating, I was hired in January 2016.
As a recent graduate, I’ve found a few things to be true as I’ve transitioned from intern to staff associate.
Increased expectations and responsibility
As an intern, a great deal is expected from you. However, the partners and staff understand you are a recent graduate with limited experience, and want you to be put in a situation to learn and succeed. I’ve been given the opportunity to lead multiple projects early on, which have had their own challenges; but it is a reflection of the confidence and trust my team leaders have in me.
There is a significant amount of pressure when you’re officially on staff. When you’re an intern, you want to make the best impression possible. However, mistakes are inevitable. When you’re on deadline, you may overlook small details you would have caught otherwise. When you make a mistake, it’s important to accept responsibility and learn from it. Team leaders understand that mistakes happen. The great thing is that, if you do make one, they are there to support you.
When I worked on assignments as an intern, I didn’t always understand the bigger picture. As a staff associate, I not only understand the bigger picture, I also understand how the small pieces fit. There is a greater sense of ownership in projects, and you have more pride in your work. Not only that, but you also appreciate the process more. The occasional long hours or hiccups along the way don’t matter as much when you see your hard work and your team’s hard work successfully come together.
As I’ve transitioned from intern to staff associate, I’ve learned that each step is designed to prepare you for the next. I look forward to growing and developing as a young professional at MP&F and embracing the challenges that lie ahead.