At the end of my sophomore year I was finishing up with a class that all communication majors, who want to participate in an internship for credit, have to take. The course is called Employment practicum. One of the requirements for the course was to go to the Career and Internship Fair. I was not looking forward to this experience because I didn’t think it was something that could help sophomores. It was very focused on juniors and seniors. At the fair I saw a table surrounded by 6 people wearing red and khaki. The table had many balloons and very cheery people. I approached that table and in that moment everything changed for me.
I learned a lot about Target’s internship program before I finally said yes. I interviewed three times and took a 2-hour online test. I interned for Target from June to August. Their internship exceeds any internship I have heard about. I thought I was going to get people coffee or make copies but I was very wrong. On my first day I was introduced to everyone as an Executive Team Leader for Food. I was very surprised that Target would have so much faith in me to be an executive. The first month I shadowed the executives in every department and learned about how the entire store functioned, as well as my focus, the food department. I had a mentor for all ten weeks of the internship and we talked every week about my progress and what she observed were my weaknesses. Through this internship I learned so much about the importance of feedback and valuing people whom you supervise. Most days I told people what I needed them to do and other days I was standing side by side my employees cutting pizza or selling pretzels. I learned that when employees see you doing so much they will go even farther for you because you are connecting with them.
This summer I learned how to lead, train, appreciate, recognize, hold accountable, and comprehend the employees I supervised. Target also made sure to have chat sessions so that the interns can meet with the district leaders and interns to express any concerns we have. Everything I learned was valued and I took away so much from this summer. I have learned how to manage a business and motivate others to achieve success. This is something that seems so simple but is so difficult. I had my days when I was so stressed out with back-to-back problems and I didn’t want to be there, but I accepted it and used that energy to make changes. Most of my days were filled with laughter from the employees. I made sure to always say hello and stop to talk to every single one of them about something I knew they liked or didn’t like. I loved supervising them because I learned as much from them as they learned from me.
Overall, I had the most amazing experience. I used techniques I learned in my communication classes and the Spanish from my Spanish classes. I saw everything from a seven-year-old burning down one of our cash registers to a sweet little boy helping his grandma. I interacted with all types of people and I am a better person and employee because of it. I had the best experience and I can’t wait to come back as an Advanced Executive Intern Next Summer!
-Lucitania Hernandez ’14