Photo by Brenda Lin

This past spring I accepted a seven month internship with General Electric through their early identification Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP). I was nervous but thought it would be like many of the internships I had heard about: eight hour days, doing some Excel, sometimes not having anything to do. This is not what I got at all.

In just two months, this internship has taught me so much, and worked me so hard that I sometimes feel like I am running on pure willpower, and I have loved every minute of it. I would like to take this space to thank GE and everyone I have had an opportunity to work with.

To GE: Thank you for creating leadership programs that empower and cultivate young people to become future leaders. This program turns an internship (or fresh-out-of-college job) into an opportunity to make a lasting difference.

To my boss: Thank you for believing in me. You gave me a team to lead and an opportunity to change the way processes were run. I appreciate the chance to make mistakes and grow. Thank you for inspiring me to be better and reach outside of my comfort zone.

To my coworkers: Thank you for your patience. You have taught me to never be scared to ask questions and that getting to the root cause of a problem is almost never simple.

To my team: Thank you for teaching me that education does not earn respect; your actions do. You taught me that the best way to understand what you are asking of people is to do it yourself. You are never too good to do any job.

To everyone in the plant: Thank you for teaching me that “thank you” are two powerful words. I have come to appreciate every little thing someone does to help me out whether it is answering a question or moving a set of boxes for me.

To my fellow interns: Thank you for showing me that it is important to learn how and when to say no. If you try to do everything for everyone, you will wear yourself out and please no one. Push your limits but also know when something is not possible.

To all the OMLP’s: Thank you for welcoming me with open arms into your Summit. You gave me an opportunity to be a part of a team of the brightest minds in GE and taught me that you are never too young to make a difference or too young to make a lasting impression.

To the CEO of GE Energy Management: Thank you for listening to us and showing me that it matters what you do and how you do it. You showed me that it is okay to fail as long as you learn from those failures.

To the Environment, Health, and Safety team: Thank you for all the 3 p.m. Gatorades. You make me see how much safety matters, and I should really try and follow all of your rules. They are there for a reason much like steal toed boots: they are a life saver.

Finally, thank you Georgia Tech: Thank you for having career fairs and setting up your students for success. Thank you for creating a community where alumni are so willing to lend a helping hand in any way they can.

Great opportunities await every student here, and it is ours for the taking.