How did you come across this internship and what made you choose this internship?
I sourced for my internship with A*STAR through the NTU CareerAxis platform. I was interested in the research field, and I wanted to see if the actual work would be something that I would like to do for my future career.
What are your main responsibilities as an intern?
As a research intern, my day-to-day work revolves around testing and data analytics to prove the concept of the study I was doing research on. I worked with laboratory machinery that I usually do not have the chance to interact with. After being trained on the difference aspects of laboratory work, I had the opportunity to independently run tests and experiments. Additionally, I was assigned to a project where the findings of the research contributed to a segment of a publication.
What do you like about this internship experience?
I enjoyed having the freedom to learn at the research centre where there is a focus on attaining the necessary information to run a test. It was exciting to explore and brainstorm ways to make a process more efficient and solve problems on the go. Fellow researchers and laboratory technicians also played a pivotal role in the overall positive experience of my internship. Being part of a team that is both focused and willing to share experiences and knowledge is especially beneficial to someone like me, who is trying to understand working life and the journey of an experienced researcher.
What were some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
There were several challenges at the beginning due to a lack of understanding of what needs to be done. I recognise that this is normal for anyone in a new role. Being open minded and receptive to the challenges enabled me to quickly pick up the necessary tools and skills to build up my competency in the field.
How have you developed through this internship? What have you learnt and what are your key takeaways?
One of the key takeaways from my internship experience is the need to be independent and take ownership of my own learning trajectory even as I received guidance from my colleagues. Through the internship, I developed skills in critical thinking and innovation and have also improved my resilience. In research, one needs to be constantly thinking of different methods and approaches to achieve a desired outcome or product while staying true to the key concepts. I have developed my determination and persistence through learning from failures to work towards success.
Share advice with your peers who will be going on internships.
An internship is an opportunity for you to learn as much as you can without having to worry too much about the repercussions of failure. You will need to have a clear sense of purpose when embarking on your internship. Most organisations understand that interns are there to learn, and when given the opportunity, an intern should seize the opportunity to learn and make the most of the time they spend there.
Take the internship as an opportunity to grow and understand yourself better. The shift in perspective that comes with being on an internship could steer you to unexplored career pathways or solidify your passion in a particular field.
The greatest takeaways of an internship will be your personal growth and the development of skills and knowledge in your field of interest. It is definitely important to choose your internship carefully. However, the overall experience of an internship is still largely determined by your attitude. Being open-minded brings more opportunities that allow for personal growth.