Saturday, March 5, 2011

Journal 4: Preliminary Evaluation of Internship Experience

Think seriously about your internship performance thus far. Reflect on the items below and use them to help clarify areas of strength and weakness so that you may improve the outcome of your internship.

1) Intern's Name: Malgorzata Malkowska
2) Internship Firm/Organization: Higgins Armory Museum
3) This internship provides me with an adequate learning experience for my background.
Somewhat. I am learning many things, but they are often unrelated to my background experience. For example, I am definitely learning about the workings of a museum and about arms and armor, but my background is in theatre, photography, graphic design, and communication in general. I have opportunities coming up to shoot more photos, but have not had a chance to do any design, public speaking, or other things I studied. I have mostly done research, and organizational tasks such as making lists of events, calendars, etc.
4) My mentor at this organization understands my goals and objectives.
Yes, I believe she does. For example, she supports my desire to practice shooting photos and has suggested opportunities for it.
5) I did adequate preparation investigating the sponsoring organization and level of placement before accepting this position.
Yes, I researched the Museum and spoke with the director to find out what the position would involve. I understood going in that I would complete tasks concerning events, the Higgins' website, and marketing as necessary instead of having a specific job description with things I would always handle.
6) This organization expects too much work or requires more polished work than I was prepared to do.
Not particularly. Considering the work overall, I was prepared to do more difficult work than I have been. Some days there is less than I expect, but others involve just the right amount of work. More specifically, although I have not had the chance to do any graphic design, the design work I have seen prepared by other staff members is at times of higher quality than I have done before, but given the chance and enough time I believe I could make similar items.
7) I cooperate with my colleagues in our work or to accomplish joint goals at the organization.
Yes, cooperation is definitely a strong point of the staff at the Museum. A lot of the tasks I have done involved working with others, and I believe we did so effectively.
8) I cope with annoying situations without losing my temper or poise.
Yes. Since the staff is small, some of the staff members are stressed, sometimes resulting in annoying situations, but I have never lost my temper. For example, I have had several computer issues since I started, and patiently waited for them to be resolved.
9) I am eager to learn new skills.
Yes, though I would like to learn more and hope the second half of my internship can fulfill that.
10) I find something new to learn even in the most routine tasks.
Usually. For example, even when just looking for contact information of different people to invite to an upcoming event, I learned more about using Excel and organizing spreadsheets.
11) I consider my internship position challenging and worthy of my talents.
Sometimes. My daily tasks have not been very challenging although they can be time consuming. I have trouble with some of them, but not because they are inherently difficult. For instance, I had trouble researching parenting blogs on which to advertise kids' events. This is a simple task, but since I do not have any experience with parenting and do not know what kind of keywords would be appropriate to find these blogs, I had problems completing it. One thing I do consider challenging though is the photography. The lighting in the Museum poses a problem I have to actively think about and work at (which is why I look forward to more photo opportunities).
12) My attitude toward colleagues and clients is helpful and concerned.
Yes, I try to help my colleagues as much as I can on a daily basis and often ask if there is anything I could do for them. (see below for clients)
13) I easily recognize clients' needs and then try and assist them.
The only time I work directly with museum guests is when photographing. I try to answer any questions they have in a friendly yet professional manner so they are comfortable, and try to explain myself well when asking for release forms. Additionally, I try to keep their feelings in mind when I shoot a photo, and when doing tasks that don't involve me working directly with clients but are somehow connected (for instance, when looking for background music for an event).
14) I demonstrate ease in initiating conversation with colleagues and clients.
Yes. I do not recall any problems initiating conversation, though I can be shy sometimes.
15) I show confidence and poise in dealing with colleagues and clients.
Usually. Sometimes I have trouble explaining what I mean and become nervous.
16) This organization can point to me with pride as one of their employees.
Yes, I believe so.
17) I approach all tasks, even low level ones, with enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence.
Yes, although the tasks I have done so far have often been simple, I understand they still need to be done and matter in the long run. Therefore, I complete all tasks with care, no matter if they are simple or complex.
18) My work patterns and quality of work produced justify the time and money the firm is investing in me.
Yes. (see above)
19) I look forward to each day enthusiastically.
Depends on the day. I do not believe it is possible to be enthusiastic all the time because of personal issues, tedious tasks, etc., but I am enthusiastic about some days, and of course events.
20) Although this internship is a short-term position, I am personally committed and involved for the present.
Yes, I understand the work I do will still matter after I am gone so I am committed to doing it well.
21) This internship experience has helped me clarify future goals.
Not yet. I do not have specific goals for the future partially because I do not want to limit myself, but perhaps something in the second half of the internship will catch my attention and help me work on finding goals.
22) Describe areas of personal interest and ability that you had not been aware of before working for this organization.
I became a lot more interested in armor, weaponry/sword fighting, and traditions of different periods. I liked period clothing, architecture, culture, etc. before starting at the Museum, but did not think much about the eras on display here or about armor in general. I have also become a bit more interested in planning events, including weddings and other personal parties, from working with Joanne who deals with Museum rentals.

As mentioned above, I believe my contribution to the Museum is worth the time they are investing in me, although I know I could be doing more/different assignments. My tasks have been mostly organizational or research related. For example, listing events on the web calendar, finding/organizing contact information into spreadsheets, or finding background music for an event. These are all things that need to be done and take time the other staff members may not have. I am aware accomplishing these tasks helps the staff I work with and the Museum as a whole, so I am glad I can complete them, though they may feel simple or tedious. The biggest reason I have not been able to contribute more is computer trouble. My computer has been an ongoing problem since I started, therefore I hope it is fixed and I have less issues with it in the future and access to more software so I may work on more varied tasks in my areas of knowledge (communication: print media/design).
So far, my accomplishments also include learning more about Higgins Armory, history, working in an office environment, the different things that go into running a museum, and photographing the public especially in low light. For instance, I understand more of the specific terms and software staff members may use. Additionally, I have a sense of how different staff members work, and how different guests react to the presence of a camera.

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