Davian Valencia took on a research and customer education role in his position at Discount Tire.
Why did you choose this internship?
I was searching for an internship and told my current employer what types of opportunities I was looking for. I wanted to take on more responsibility to learn transferable skills to bring to my future career. He told me about a position at the company and how I would even get a pay increase. I was so excited because I thought I would gain great experience and interpersonal skills. It was an excellent opportunity for growth for me.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?
A lot of the work I did was research-based or focused on team leadership. I was in charge of educating customers about details on the product and clearly communicating the rationale behind our recommendations. I was in charge of leading a team in a fast-paced work environment to maintain the quality of work for each vehicle. I also got to train new employees and support them during their first shifts to onboard them to the team.
What was the most significant contribution you made?
One question that I always raised was, “How can we do this better?” The way I like to work is to first master a task the way my supervisor instructs me to do it. Once I’ve mastered it, I see if there is a more efficient way to do it while maintaining the same quality of work (a way to work smarter, not harder). Several times during my experience I would present new processes to my supervisor and he would give them a try.
What new knowledge and skills did you develop in this internship?
I think I was able to put a lot of what we learned from PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness, into practice here. Everything from selling myself in an interview, making the most of a situation, and even just having fun. The skill that I was able to learn was creative problem-solving. Nothing at my internship was the same every day, so when a new problem presented itself, we had to find a way to solve it quickly or we would compromise our quality of service.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
About halfway through the semester, I started to doubt my personal growth during my internship experience. I think I was getting a sense of imposter syndrome, something we discussed in PAH 383. I realized that I wasn’t making the most of my situation and that I was in a unique situation where I could learn from those that are in this field of work. Once I had this epiphany, I started to motivate myself to ask more questions and be more active in my position and take initiative to grow even further professionally.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for and/or begin their internship?
Find one that sounds good or interests you when you read the job description and try it. If you find one in a field that you want to go into, that is even better! Give it a try to see if it is a good fit, and try to learn as much as you can at your position. Develop your interpersonal skills and any technical skills as much as you can.