As I sat in a restaurant next door to the office, two days before my time at Hanover would draw to a close, I could not help but think back on how many things had changed in the last two months. After walking in the door on June 9th as the new guy, by August 6th I sat among friends. About a dozen other co-workers had come to celebrate the birthday of a Content Director. How often do people at offices voluntarily hang out with their supervisors? While I have worked other places before, I have never felt like part of a community like I do at Hanover. As I got up to leave, a member of the sales team asked me how I would characterize my summer? My answer active. Every day I came into the office I learned something new. But at the end of the day, and most importantly of all, this summer I got to know some extraordinary people.
To start off, if I had to pick one thing I learned from Hanover that I will cherish the most, it would not be about research. While I did learn to use Excel like a wizard, research databases like a ninja, and create SmartArt that would make Picasso jealous, the most significant thing I learned this summer was how to work as part of a team. While much of the work at Hanover is independent, that responsibility made me even more appreciative of having a Project Leader to look over work, a Content Director in a nearby office to give advice, and, in the worst-case scenario, a co-worker in the cubicle next door to empathize when my computer crashed.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have only one piece of advice for myself. On my first day at work, I asked a colleague a question: if she could go back, what advice would she give to herself on her first day? Now I can answer that question for myself. If I could peer back through time to my first day, I would tell myself to take full advantage of working alongside people that really are experts in their fields. As a certain survey-analysis specialist once said to me: “If a problem is taking more than fifteen minutes to fix, ask.” That is advice I will always keep.
Finally, while being a paid intern was great, long after my summer money has gone, the thing I will miss most about Hanover is the people. Walking into the lunchroom was always a bright point in my day. Whether it was because of a discussion on whimsical Dutch college programs, an argument about the best way to milk sap from a tree, or commiserate about the challenges of a new project, I would always leave with a smile.
As a result of my internship, I return to school much better prepared to tackle the assignments and projects that lie ahead. All I can say now is: thanks for everything, Hanover.
By Jack Washington, Research Intern, Education