Dear world: It’s us, the interns. As summer comes to a close, we bid one last farewell before embarking on another year of study or, for some of us, entering the real world after college.
How it all started
There are 36 of us in almost every department between Delta Dental’s Okemos and Farmington Hills offices. We hail from colleges and universities throughout Michigan and the greater Midwest. We major in marketing, computer science, pre-law, business, journalism … you name it. But, we have one thing in common: we all spent our summers learning the ins and outs of the exciting yet intricate world of dental benefits here at Delta Dental of Michigan.
Most of us started our internships in May. We walked into the Okemos office for our intern orientation wide-eyed and in awe of the cubicles that seemed to stretch for miles. Though some of us do not plan on pursuing insurance after college, we all gained relevant and worthwhile experience over the course of our summer internships.
We learned about a Lansing-based group called Lansing 5:01, whose mission is to retain and attract young, professional talent in Michigan’s capital city through community events and social outreach. Delta Dental’s sponsorship of Lansing 5:01 allowed us to experience a wide range of community-building events including: discovering Lansing’s philanthropic community downtown and learning the art of etiquette on the stage of the Wharton Center for Performing Arts!
Delta Dental also ensured we were staying engaged with each other and our community. We raced each other in escape rooms and joined in rewarding corporate citizenship events like our school supplies drive and a volunteer experience in Detroit.
A great place to learn and grow
We were pleasantly surprised by the responsibility and autonomy we were given as interns. We ran department meetings, learned the proper etiquette of corporate email, and pitched new projects and ideas, all while networking with likeminded individuals in our fields. The mixture of classroom and board room comes together perfectly for Delta Dental interns to create a safe learning environment that is suited perfectly for growth.
Though we had triumphs, there were definitely a few “oops” moments. Whether or not we care to admit it, we all had our fair share of accidentally deleted files, dropped stacks of paper or socially awkward faux pas. A unique factor of Delta Dental is that it employs five different generations of employees! Learning how to properly communicate and problem-solve becomes imperative when working with someone 40 years your senior.
The biggest struggles of being an intern are conquering expectations and adjusting to new environments. It’s a ridiculous misconception that interns are hired primarily to make copies or deliver coffee and are on the lowest stoop of the office hierarchy. This is in no way the case at Delta Dental. To our surprise, even though we were interning at such a large company, we were always greeted with a smile or a warm, “Good morning” or “How are you?” Thank you for continuously respecting each and every one of us from the moment we stepped foot in the office until our last goodbye hug.
Thank you, Delta Dental, for providing us with opportunities to build our professional confidence and hone our skills. We treasure the relationships that we’ve cultivated. The inside jokes and playful banter of our colleagues kept us going, even when four cups of coffee fell short. We will hold these relations and lessons dear as we complete our educations and emerge into the “real world” with the tenacity and poise that Delta Dental has nurtured within us. Thanks for the memories!
Signed sincerely: Delta Dental of Michigan’s 2019 summer interns.