How would you describe what you are doing at McKinstry in 50 words or less?
I interact with, benchmark, and analyze energy data. I’m learning how to upload facility condition assessment files into an Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) data base. I’ve been enjoying learning from and connecting with the Energy and Technical Services team!
What has McKinstry been successful in with tackling the challenge of COVID-19 from a company and an intern perspective (i.e. measures taken company wide and measures taken within the BLUE Program)
McKinstry has done an excellent job connecting us despite the virtual nature of this work. Very helpful resources have been provided left and right throughout the B.L.U.E. program. I enjoyed hearing McKinstry’s higher management make a statement on the Black Lives Matter movement. I also appreciated the weekly intern social events. A huge thanks to Bri Kastning (Employee Development Program Manager) who has remarkably guided this internship! McKinstry provides a special atmosphere that encourages growth and enthusiasm despite the challenges presented by COVID-19; the company has also been very clear on required health precautions when employees partake in non-virtual work. If working for McKinstry has been this great of an experience virtually, I can only imagine the bounty of fun it would be to work with these awesome people in person!
What has been the most valuable thing you have learned during this internship so far?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned builds off a key trait that I learned long ago. The importance of taking initiative should never be underestimated. Taking initiative is an essential behavior to practice in every area of life, especially the workplace. You are competent, you are smart, and most of the time you have the capability to figure out a problem on your own. I’m the biggest fan of asking questions, however; I firmly believe in accessing all outlets of knowledge before resorting to someone else.
My team has been incredibly helpful this summer. I’m thankful for their investment in my growth and their willingness to push me out of the nest even when I’m timid to fly. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. Taking initiative has always made me feel uncomfortable. Taking initiative results in much more vivid rewards and mistakes. This behavior has proved to be incredibly important throughout my life and even more so throughout this internship.
What are your three biggest takeaways from this program?
- One lesson I learned the hard way is the importance of setting realistic deadlines for yourself. I was working on a project and told my manager it would be done by “X” date. As time went on, the layers of the project became visible to me, and that initial deadline became a huge stressor. I was able to push the deadline back a week but even then, I was still using every minute of the workday to finish the deliverable. I work well slightly under pressure–a deadline with some leeway but not too much is perfect.
- An important and simple takeaway that I’ve learned during this program is giving detailed context when asking questions. It’s important to craft questions over Teams so the person receiving the question must do little to no work to understand what you’re asking. This requires you to put more work and attention to detail into the initial question, it is a great habit to form and a more efficient use of everyone’s time.
- It has been a goal of mine to refine my wide array of interests into a more concentrated pool. I find most subjects interesting; it can be hard to answer the question, “What projects interest you the most?” Throughout my career I want to put myself in positions that I’m very passionate about. To do this I need to start paying attention to the work that I really gravitate towards. I want to notice the areas in which I excel so I can focus and expand in those areas.