The following is a recap of a recent CPG internship by Noella Hwande>

I’ve met too many people who don’t love their job. For them, working serves one purpose – pay the bills. Sometimes, it may begin as something they want to do, but once they begin, they realize their heart’s not in it. Too often, people bury their dreams and passions beneath a sea of excuses, reasoning and responsibility. And I won’t let that be me.

As I stepped into the working world, I had an opportunity to first test the waters with an internship at CPG. Internships are a great way to identify if an industry is right for you and place you on a path of fulfillment rather than regret.

Here are 4 lessons I learned from my summer internship at CPG.

1. Ask questions often

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask. Before I started this internship, I had a tendency to shrink into mediocrity, to take the path of least resistance when it came to understanding projects. I told myself I would figure it out as I go. I didn’t want to annoy anyone with a list of questions about the project I was assigned. But asking questions helps clarify your objectives, shows people that you understand and helps develop trust that you’ll do a good job with this and any future projects. I learned not to be afraid to say I don’t understand if I didn’t, (even if it was after the 7th explanation).

2. You’re better at being yourself

In business, you can’t please all the people, all the time. I have learned that not everyone was meant to walk this season out with me. The right people will be drawn to me and see the qualities in me that connect with something on the inside of them – whether it’s qualities that they have or just qualities they admire. Don’t feel the need to go out of your way to be something you’re not in order to impress others. Instead, stay true to yourself and the right people will see it.

3. There’s nothing like experience

People are more than just job titles. Coming into this internship, I knew I wanted to do something in the Communications field, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it would be. Since I was surrounded by marketing professionals, I started asking questions. I went around and asked people about their jobs – what they did, what they studied, how they got to this place in their careers, what their day-to-day looks like, etc. My questions gave me insight beyond just job titles and showed me how each contributes to the company’s success.

4. Your attitude determines your altitude

Finally, I learned immediately that I have the power to make this internship whatever I wanted it to be. If I wanted something, I had to be intentional about taking steps that would facilitate the fruition of that desire. True growth doesn’t come from a place of comfort, and your potential will remain just that as long as you allow your past experiences to dictate your attitude. Previous internships hadn’t impressed this upon me before, but my CPG experience was designed to ensure I grow.

Most memorable project:  TEDx speaker research

In doing research to identify potential speakers for TEDxStLouisWomen 2016, I had the privilege of watching previous TED talks of powerful women. I enjoyed so many inspiring talks by amazing women, and it truly inspired and showed me there is no limit to what you can do if you’re truly passionate about something.

This internship will be whatever you make it.

Ultimately, the journey is less about the destination and more about the person you become along the way. I used to hear people talk about life-changing moments, and I assumed there was a light that shined down, showing them a path to take.

I always assumed it would be out-of-this-world experiences or too surreal to recognize in the moment and you’d only understand the weight of your decisions when you looked back on life. And while that may be true to a certain extent, I already know that my small time as an intern at CPG has created a postive charge in my life that I plan to carry forward into my next chapter.
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