In orientation seminar for first-year high school students, my high school principal Mr. Krol had a mantra that he made my entire class repeat again and again. There we were, in the auditorium slumped down in our seats repeating, “First impressions count! First impressions count!”
Assuming the thoughts of my other classmates sitting around me, I thought the phrase was quite silly to say over and over and over again, especially when we knew already that first impressions were important. After all, high school kids know everything, right?
Thinking back on Mr. Krol's words now as a senior in college, I see a lot more value in them.
Walking into my first day interning with Mary Kay Inc. in Dallas, Texas, I wanted to make a stellar first impression on my supervisor and my peers. I wanted to make sure I was attentive and proactive, personable but not overdoing it. Above all else, though, I wanted to show my supervisor that I was able to learn and adapt quickly and complete tasks above expectation.
Within the first two days of my internship, I could see that my daily tasks leaned toward a technical knowledge of web design, rather than aesthetic, which required me to learn a lot more than I'd initially thought. Mary Kay IT employees are in the finishing stages of launching a new web site application in Kazakhstan in mid-June which require a lot of tests to ensure all web elements function the way they are intended. I am on the team of people who run those tests and report if each test passed or failed.
Because my tasks are heavily technical, my first week involved a lot of learning. I had to familiarize myself with new terms and acronyms, learn how use new computer programs I've never seen before and learn how to pace my 40-hour work week. Before starting, I had thought I would mostly apply to my internship tasks what I had already learned in school, but I now know that I need to simultaneously learn and apply what I've learned.
At the end of my first week interning with Mary Kay, I learned that great first impressions can include a willingness to learn something new. Stepping out of my comfort zone was scary, and I felt a little helpless at times asking so questions each day. Thankfully, with perseverance and a lot of help from my supervisor and co-workers, I finished my first week feeling accomplished in what I had learned.
As far as great first impressions go, I can only assume I made a good first impression on my supervisor and peers at work. After all, they kept me around for a second week, and the third week is looking promising as well…
Kimber Blair, senior Interactive Design and Public Relations major.
Above photo features my cubicle at Global eBusiness at Mary Kay Inc.