I had my first internship, through a high school program, when I was 16 years old. The location was at a media company located in Columbus, OH. This specific company had a college intern program, but they had never worked with a high school student before. While I received some good professional experience, I was mostly tasked with very basic administrative work. The classic intern duties. You guessed it – coffee mule, assistant janitor, and errand runner.
One day, I was sent on a specific errand requested by the CEO. The instruction was simple enough: retrieve a copy of the red covered “Apartment Finder” catalog. Any college student would find this request easy. For a high school student who just learned how to drive and has never been on the hunt for an apartment… not so easy. I searched through every Kroger, CVS, and Walgreen’s catalog stands. I finally found a catalog titled “Apartment Finder” with a red-ish – more like burnt-orange – cover. I came back to my internship site and left my find on the CEO’s desk. Fast forward an hour and I am startled by a hand slamming the catalog I retrieved on the desk in front of me, “Does this look red to you?!” I replied, with the biggest knot forming in my throat, “No..” With a heightened aggravation he demanded, “Go back out and try again. Do not come back until you have found what I asked for.”
Yeah. So that happened. In case you were wondering, yes I did find the right copy (after 3 more hours of searching) and yes I am scarred for life now. Five internships later, I still feel the knot in my throat. It can be difficult, as a millennial, not to feel the need to prove myself. I want to demonstrate my ability. I want to be respected. I want to be viewed equally. Unfortunately, I have not always received those wants. It has caused me to gain this weird, backwards sense of entitlement. I falsely believe my way is always the right way. I am learning confidence and humility, in their true nature, are actually mutually exclusive. Whenever I act out of pride, I am lacking self-confidence.
I am thankful for this space, at DSC, where I feel comfortable as a millennial professional. I am thankful for my past that has taught me how to be humble and confident, no matter the circumstance. And to the millennials – know that you are valuable and never, ever deserve to be undermined. You rule.
– Karlee H.