The day in the life of an intern: fetch coffee, copy documents, unappreciated. We often get a certain image when the title “intern” is mentioned. There are stereotypes that carry over from movies to people’s heads; however, there are so many valuable experiences that come with life as an intern. This summer, as a part of the Employment and Training Administration’s Division of Financial Management and Administrative Services (DFMAS) at DOL, I’ve really been incorporated into my co-worker’s duties. From day one, I was welcomed into the DFMAS unit meeting.
As a rising second year student at the University of Chicago, I have some time to decide my major. With a pre-med background, I could have taken a research position in a lab or some classes during the summer to gain credit, but I wanted to reroute and try something new.
There are many aspects of the hard sciences that involve independent study: lab research, problem-sets, data analysis. My time at DFMAS also involves some independent work involving grants, corrective action plans, and green jobs. But at the end of the day, all my work comes together with the efforts of the people I work with.
I’ve had the privilege of learning and working conjoint with the Offices of Unemployment Insurance (UI), Special Initiatives and Demonstrations (OSID), and State Systems (OSS) since finances are all intertwined with various grants, services, and employment issues. I’ve gained a considerable amount of exposure in the financial realm of government. Whenever I watch or read the news, I can comprehend and understand, step-by-step, the happenings behind the debt-ceiling, U.S. credit ratings, and various financial jargon used at DOL which I’ve found extremely helpful. I have very supportive co-workers who have taken the time to explain different concepts and conflicts, and solutions with federal funding. Even beyond DFMAS, my co-workers have shared their college experiences, how they’ve gotten to the position they are right now, and career advice.
I really value the connections I’ve made at DOL. I’ve learned immensely from forming relations with government workers and other interns. In the bigger picture, the DOL is a portion of a giant web of relations and connections that serves as a critical and necessary part in the governmental works. I really value the time that I get to work at DOL. I can’t believe it’s already been over a month! It’s gone by too fast!
Editor’s Note: The author, Grace Park is an intern in the Chicago Employment and Training Administration’s Division of Financial Management and Administrative Services.