By Evann Schultz (Class of 2017)
As one of two high school interns at EDG Design this year, I have had the pleasure of working in the company’s chic office in Hangar 7 of Hamilton, Novato and working with the head of the company, Jennifer Johanson, to create a presentation for her employees. The focus of my project and presentation is urban agriculture, both in design and technology.
This internship, although eye-opening and creatively-stimulating, has come with a challenge: time. With school, work, college applications, a class at College of Marin two days a week, and ASB events, finding four hours a week (not on weekends or past five p.m.) has been difficult. I have taken advantage of my third period gap and been driving to Novato after first period and returning back to school after lunch for fifth period calculus. It’s exhausting! But because it is the only free time I can offer EDG that corresponds with their office hours, I am making it work. I have had to sacrifice lunches with friends, link crew meetings, and college admissions talks. The leaders of these events have been understanding of my situation, though. I love the internship placement I applied for and received and I don’t think I would trade the experience of working in the artistic atmosphere for a couple extra minutes of lunch with my friends. I am excited to present my presentation to the firm and receive the (hopefully positive) feedback from my audience that will make the additional thirty minutes of driving worth it.
As basic as it seems, I have learned the professional behavior required to work in an office from my time at EDG Design. At my past jobs, the casual environment has allowed me to slip into some informal characteristics in the workplace. At EDG, many of the employees are young, hip, indie-types who walk around laughing and listening to headphones but that does not diminish the formal vibe in Hangar 7. I have learned from my time in this office that I shouldn’t blow bubbles with my gum while working on my computer–no matter how mindless it has become. I have learned that pulling my knees up to my chest in my chair probably isn’t the most appropriate position to sit in. I’ve also learned that some of the outfits I wear to school aren’t the same ones I should wear to my internship. Luckily I caught on to these things before anyone had to inform me, but I still sometimes catch myself feeding into my oh-too-casual habits.
I tend to think of myself as someone who is good at talking with adults. At the office I have definitely had my fair share of conversations with employees, all being adults or college students. I have improved how I introduce myself in a professional manner and hold conversations with people who are often several years older than me. This is an important skill in any workplace and in the “real world” so I am happy to be able to improve on it.