45 Lessons from my Internship

This summer, I got the amazing opportunity to be an intern at AT&T in their corporate offices in Bedminster, NJ. I worked as an intern in the Sales Execution department, creating and analyzing data pulled from in house databases, and making systems that would automatically do this for me. (Yes a 9-5 job where I sit in a cubicle and tap away at my computer–and I loved it!)

I'm genuinely happy to be sitting here at my desk sifting through emails and working on all my reports.

I’m genuinely happy to be sitting here at my desk sifting through emails and working on all my reports.

For my final evaluation, my boss sat me down and asked, “So Monica, what do you think are the main lessons you’ve learned after working here this summer?” I gave him a few sentences about learning Excel skills and learning about the industry and company. After leaving my evaluation though, I thought about how I’ve learned so much from this internship, both in and out of the office. So then I thought. And then I sat down to my computer. And then this post happened.

Things I’ve learned:

  1. Excel is actually magical (like seriously, EVERYONE needs to learn Excel.)
  2. But it’s also really finnicky (and will anger you for hours when you can’t figure out why it keeps giving you an error message.)


    This file may or may not have made me want to cry multiple times.

  3. Ctrl-Z is the biggest lifesaver.
  4. You get an indescribable amount of joy when the workbook you’ve been working on for hours refreshes and loads seamlessly.
  5. NO ONE pays attention during telepresence meetings.
  6. Working is really exhausting.
  7. The fact that parents find the energy to work a full time job, commute, and still take care of other human beings is actually amazing.
  8. My parents are freaking awesome and deserve so much more credit than I give them.
  9. Productive summers are more fun.
  10. Doing nothing feels so much better when you’re always doing something.
  11. Traffic is the bane of my existence.


    Another fun day of sitting in rush hour traffic on Route 18 South (woohoo.)

  12. Making food after driving for an hour and a half in bumper to bumper traffic is torturous but also calming.
  13. People in the Chinese supermarket look at you weirdly when you wear business casual while screaming in Chinese and asking the fisherman to catch you a river bass for dinner.
  14. Business casual is the best and everyone should wear it always.
  15. Giving yourself a bedtime is actually kind of nice.
  16. Your body gets very used to sleeping at 11 p.m.
  17. You learn to hate pop music when you listen to the radio for ~3 hours a day.
  18. Radio talk is great.
  19. It’s easy to develop loyalty to your favorite radio station for absolutely no reason.
  20. Talking (yelling) at the other motorists on the road (to some, called “road rage”) is very entertaining and makes the commute a lot less boring.
  21. Being friendly in the office goes a long way.
  22. Time moves even faster at the office than at school.
  23. Working makes you feel like you’re growing up really fast.
  24. I may have a little too much Rutgers pride sometimes (all the time.)
  25. Office life (pranks, hanging out by the water cooler, and waffle days) is oddly comforting.


    Waffle Day is a thing, and it’s great.

  26. People in offices don’t actually hang out by the water coolers, but just in the middle of the hallway.
  27. Technology is changing so quickly, and it’s going to change the way we do everything, whether we like it or not.
  28. We all really need to learn how to code because it’s going to be the language of the future.
  29. You quickly get used to reading world and economic news everyday.
  30. Getting important emails is really fun.
  31. Sitting in an office chair for eight hours a day can make you feel like a potato.

    My cubicle- where i slowly became a potato over the summer.

    My cubicle–where I slowly became a potato over the summer.

  32. Work gets you used to a routine really fast.
  33. There’s always time to learn more.
  34. AT&T is actually a really awesome company to work for.

    AT&T's Global Network Operations Center, aka a NJ and technical version of all those scenes in NCIS.

    AT&T’s Global Network Operations Center, a.k.a. a NJ and technical version of all those scenes in NCIS.

  35. It’s very easy to get brainwashed by the company you work for.

    It's hard not to love your company when they serve you company themed cupcakes

    It’s hard not to love your company when they serve your company themed cupcakes (also yes this is a snapchat, sorry I’m basic.)

  36. The AT&T ringtone gets REALLY annoying really fast.
  37. You learn more from the people you work with than from the work itself.
  38. It’s a lot harder to do those things they say in the business magazines like having lunch with a different higher-up executive each week.
  39. You will always feel less prepared or intelligent than your peers but that’s when it’s most important to remember that the company picked you for a reason.
  40. Corporate offices, no matter how liberal or leftist thinking the company is, are still full of conservative white men.
  41. Peer pressure is so much worse in the office than it was in middle school.
  42. You feel instantly classier wearing a watch.
  43. You learn to make the PERFECT sunny side up eggs in three minutes–with whites cooked but yolks perfectly runny.
  44. You start to think about investing the money you make, because you feel like you have to.
  45. Finally, while school is fun, work is also fun, and I that can’t wait to get back to it next summer! Feeling positive for my 2016 summer internship!

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