Internship reflection (Part I): First few weeks and getting to know people

So my first ever internship experience has finally come to an end! 10 weeks at STB, in retrospect, feels a bit too short. Or maybe the time was just enough for me to learn a lot but not so long that I’ll be sick of it. In any case, I’m so glad that my first internship experience was truly one of the most enriching work experiences I’ve had so far. Which is kindaaa saying a lot with respect to myself because most of my work experience have been office jobs so far. So in comparison to the other office jobs I’ve held, my stint at STB has probably been the most rewarding yet. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s an internship though, so they feel obliged to ensure that I am getting something out of this experience as well hmm. Anyway here’s the process of my internship and what I feel and think about it! Probably going to be a bit long and rambly so bear w me 😀

Interview stage

I had my interview with my Reporting Officer (of course, I didn’t know she’d be my reporting officer then. To me she was just the assistant director of the department). I wasn’t very nervous before the interview actually, because she phrased it as meeting her for a chat. Also the venue was just at one of the cubes at the lobby of STB so it wasn’t a very intimidating location either. I did try to prepare for the interview by checking out the stb.gov website. But I now realise I should have looked at the YourSingapore,com website instead haha oops. At the end of my interview I had quite a positive feeling about it. It felt a bit like she liked me? And idk, just felt q positive about the whole thing.

True enough, several weeks later I got an email from her saying that if I’m still keen on the position then I have it! OF COURSE I WAS. I was so happy about it. I also applied for the CAG internship but when I went for the assessment centre, I kinda knew that I wouldn’t make it / am not cut out for it. So phew quite glad I wasn’t shortlisted at all hahaha. Blessing in disguise yay!


First day at work / first few weeks at work

On my first day I was left at the reception for quite a while with another girl (who I later found out was an intern as well. I thought she was there for a full time job man from the way she dressed and how she was holding a folder). Was feeling a bit conflicted about whether or not I should converse with her because she didn’t look thaaat friendly and I wasn’t sure if she’s an intern. I was afraid I might accidentally offend her if I asked if she was a fellow intern. SIGH should have done that, if I did, my first two weeks would be so different!

After a long wait, a guy from HR came to pick us up and gave us a quick lowdown on STB – the background, its mission / vision / values, the organisational structure, that sort of thing. Brought us around to get our temporary pass and to the IT people then he deposited me at my department. Met my buddy/ mentor Crystal who immediately struck me as a super bubbly and friendly person. In fact, I was quite taken aback and slightly overwhelmed by her. She introduced me to everyone in my division (and tbh I really couldn’t remember everyone until much later) and got me to sit at my desk and… read some stuff about what I was going to do. TBH the rest of the day is quite lost to me, not sure what I did but it was probably not much.

In fact, my first week of work didn’t have much for me to do I think. I attended several meetings which were quite eye-opening and was introduced to what I had to do. Was still quite lost at this point in time.

Oh yes and lunchtimes! I didn’t quite know what to do with myself at lunchtime. I wasn’t quite sure if my colleagues lunched together? Also I didn’t have anyone to have lunch with… 😥 So I usually waited around my desk until Crystal walked past asking if I wanted to join them for lunch. Then usually lunch would be quite the awkward affair for me. On one hand I wanted the ground to swallow me up to save me from the awkwardness and on the other I really wanted to join in the conversation but had nothing to contribute. It felt like my colleagues and I had nothing to talk about 😦 Sigh I was quite miserable. Not that my colleagues weren’t nice to me, please don’t misunderstand! Just that they have already known each other for so long. To have an intern suddenly joining in their lunch… I suppose they just continued talking as per normal but it didn’t rly include me / I couldn’t join in becos I didn’t rly understand the dynamics either.

Ryan Lai was also working somewhere in the building according to ST but then super awkz to suddenly email him and ask if he can lunch w me right! Especially since I’ve never spoken to him before. TOO AWKWARD. But then I finally spoke to him during ST’s party and it was SO incredibly coincidental that I happened to see him in the lift (as I exited the other lift) the following Monday. So I emailed him to say hello. Exchanged a few emails back and forth but it kind of petered out to nothingness because we didn’t really have much to say to each other LOL.

His last day was some time in June I think. I was quite amused when I received an email from him and the subject of the email was ‘SAYORANA’ HAHAHA. So friendly. From the slightly awkz email exchange to a rather friendly farewell. It was rather funny hahaha.

BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE PUI SAN – PEN PAL

 ITS FINALLY MY LAST DAYYYYYYYYYYYY

 ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR INTERNSHIP!

Quite amused hahaha.


Meeting the rest of the interns 

Finally in my second week on a Tuesday, I spotted a group of girls sitting at the cubes at the lobby (where I had my interview!). Oh yes I should explain. The cubes are actually like cube-shaped booth seats at the lobby of the office. Great for little discussions/ meetings/ a place to chill rly! I was on my way back to the office after travelling all the way to City Hall for lunch w PJ. Then I saw these girls and thought to myself that they look like interns and how I wish I could be friends with them.

THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A SHOOTING STAR RIGHT THEN YKNW. Because later that afternoon, the intern who came in with me emailed me and asked for my number so that they can add me to a group chat they have!! OMG EXCITED TTM RLY. I was so delighted. Took awhile to craft my reply email and had to re-edit it to make myself seem like desperate HAHA. Also in the same afternoon slightly later, the HR guy who brought us around sent me an email, linking us up with Sharlene. I later found out that this was because she saw him at the pantry of their floor and asked if there was another intern around for her to collect. Okay kidding about the collecting part. But she did ask. And so he linked us up. A bit too late but yay thanks for the effort anw. So NOW I HAD A GROUP OF FRIENDS TO LUNCH WITH YAAYYYYYY. Life wasn’t so bad after that 😀

Sharlene's birthday
Sharlene’s birthday celebration

One of the first few ‘events’ we had! Planned a surprise mini birthday celebration for Sharlene (the only girl in glasses in the above photo)! Sharlene’s quite awesome really. She was the one who brought everyone together (for me at least) and I think she has such great leadership qualities. It’s quite amazing – I feel like I’ve so much to learn from her. Glad we managed to do something for her on her birthday in return ❤

Our little group of interns grew and grew as more interns joined later! There even was an intern who sat right opposite me omg YAY imagine my joy at having a friend on my floor. I mean, even though my colleagues were rly nice to me, I still kinda felt a barrier of sorts, BUT NOW I HAVE A FRIEND! On the same floor as me! And right opposite me omg!!! But tbh I found Gab a bit aloof and unapproachable at first. I think it was just a first impression kinda thing becos he turned out to be a pretty decent guy 😀 I was so happy to have friends at STB really. They’re part of the reason why my internship experience is so awesome!

Wrap party!
Wrap party!

Another super fun event we had teehee. Such awesome lunches we had together really. Gab and some of the other girls organised a potluck – wrap style! So we brought ingredients to make the wrap. We also celebrated Amanda’s birthday at the same time ^^ Killing two birds w one stone really.


Corporate Induction Programme 

I think part of the reason why the first wave of interns are so tight is because it was kinda like all we had was each other? Because friends outside of STB wouldn’t really know what we were going through. It kinda takes one STB intern to at least slightlyyy understand what we were doing. Plus, another reason that Gab (the intern who sat opp me) mentioned was that we all went through the corporate induction programme in June, around my 5th week of work. The SUFFERING and the games and stuff really helped to bring us closer I think. Three days we had together! Wow.

We were all surprised to receive an email to attend a corporate induction programme. I mean, a one day thing would probably be understandable. But it was a three day programme!! I was quite surprised really. I didn’t expect them to be willingly spending their resources on us interns. So I was like whoa this is rather nice of them. The induction programme was surprisingly fun. On the first day was team building activities which included some games that felt like stuff out of my Secondary 3 camp AND HIGH ELEMENTS. So proud of myself for conquering it haha. On the second and third day we had talks in the morning. We went for an amazing race to the cultural precincts in Singapore (my first time in Kampong Glam!) and then on the third day it was a field trip to Haw Par Villa (which I skipped out on halfway because I had another event to attend – more about that later!).

First day of induction in the hot sun
First day of induction in the hot sun

It was quite interesting going through induction with the permanent staff also! Even though I think we kinda outnumbered or at least had equal number of interns to permanent staff haha. Felt like the age/ position barriers were lowered because we were all going through the programme together and it was rly q nice.

With my amazing team from the amazing race, at Haji Lane!
With my amazing team from the amazing race, at Haji Lane!
Last day of induction prog!
Last day of induction prog!

Happy interns at the end of the induction programme! I remember feeling a bit sian of the thought of going for induction at first because I heard stuff about how the previous batches build a raft omg. Also I was used to working and it was breaking the routine I’d gotten used to. But yay so glad we went! It was rly fun learning about STB and making new friends.

After the induction was work as per normal. Was quite overwhelmed I remember because I came back to a frenzy of image sourcing. I think one of the turning points probably was here when I helped to resolve a minor tricky situation. It was probably then when my colleague realised that hey this girl might be quite useful after all hahaha.

Work went on as per normal and I think slowly I became more comfortable w my department. They also trusted me to do more things and I helped out in more areas that what I was initially tasked to do I think. I was glad they trusted me with more work really 😀 Felt so useful and I really learnt a fair bit of soft skills from them – especially in dealing with external parties. Still not exactly close but I didn’t feel so awkward when we were together anymore. I suspect part of the reason was that I was no longer so dependent on them for lunch buddies alr HAHA yay :D:D


Okay temporary pause here because I shall continue the rest of my internship experience in the next post. Having everything in one post would be almost 5k words long. I don’t think anyone’s gna waddle through all that sigh.

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Internship reflection (Part I): First few weeks and getting to know people

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