“Be kind, always smile, and be the first one to introduce yourself with a firm hand shake.” These were my thoughts while driving one morning for my first day at my first internship. I was granted the opportunity to complete my high school internship at the State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan. I was thrilled by everything around me. While walking up Allegan street I was anxious to find out what I might experience that week: what I was going accomplish, who I might accidentally run into, and what I would take away from this experience. Little did I know at the time that what I would take from it was a realization of how much I had learned in high school.
One thing I already knew from my journey in high school was that I was interested in TV broadcasting and politics, so when thinking about how I was going to complete my 40 hour internship I thought, “Why not go big?” It didn’t take long for my success. I contacted my second cousin, Craig Ryan who’s the Senior Advisor for the Speaker of the House asking if I could come in a few days a week to work with him. He agreed and I was off to brag to my fellow classmates!
On my first day, I made my way to the House of Representatives building. Craig got me all settled in and explained to me my job for the week: I was to write a research paper that explains the pros and cons to a proposal for raising the minimum wage. At first I was hesitant. Writing wasn’t my expertise; my talent was filmmaking. However, I thought to myself, that’s why New Tech Schools are pushing their students to complete internships: to test their interests.
When writing my paper I was confused on what to do first. Craig gave me some guidelines but for the most part I had to create the paper from scratch. I made myself a checklist and started completing items one-by-one. I created a short outline. I underlined all my main topics and researched the supporting points, which was actually the most interesting part. I was an investigator looking through documents and reports that helped prove my thesis. I never would have pictured myself actually enjoying writing a research paper.
Although my internship was all business, Craig wanted me to get the most out of my experience and explore the Capitol through deeper learning. He took me around to important sessions and introduced me to people that I would recognize. I got introduced to my Senator, Joe Hune, and my Representative, Bill Rogers, who invited me to go on the floor of the legislature with him. I spent 3 hours witnessing a portion of what happens within our Michigan Government! While sitting next to Representative Rogers I was thinking to myself how well I was prepared for this experience. Coming in I knew how to introduce myself to adults and have a conversation with them. For many teenagers, introducing themselves and shaking hands is hard to do.
That week, I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but New Tech had prepared me for that. New Tech High School has greatly influenced me. Going on this internship I realized how much I have learned: meaningful skills I used throughout my internship that had been so driven into my brain, I didn’t even realize they were there. Getting a job done with detailed preparation without being told by a teacher, being able to work independently, and connecting with people I normally wouldn’t communicate with. I started practicing these skills freshman year, perfecting them to get to this point in my life. New Tech encourages deeper learning; when you’re able to understand through engagement and action, then you are able to apply your knowledge, not just pass a test. I believe that because I did my internship I will be better prepared for my future.
About the Author: Christine is a senior at Pinckney New Tech High School. She has been involved in her high school’s dance team for 4 years, being the captain of both Junior Varsity and Varsity. Her hobbies include coaching for the middle school dance team and creating short documentaries which have been viewed state wide. Christine is planning to attend Western Michigan University in the fall of 2014 to complete a double major in Journalism and Political Science.