To stumble and grow: 3 things I learnt during my internship
By Leow Sue Yu
By the time you read this, my internship with The Project J would have ended.
For a little over two months, I was the Marketing and Creative Intern there. The entire internship was truly such a divine and blessed experience. God’s hand was weaving through my every day in this company. To think that I almost did not apply for this internship!
Prior to applying at The Project J, I had already sent out numerous emails to different companies. Literally, none of them got back to me. I remember thinking, “Guess I’ll be jobless this summer break.”
Yet, I felt a strong prompting to apply for a job at The Project J. My mind was unsettled as I was afraid of another rejection but my heart felt at peace with the decision to go ahead. To my surprise, Promise got back to me! I was absolutely elated that I managed to even get an interview during this uncertain season.
The Zoom interview was amazing. Promise and I had back and forth conversations that not only flowed well but roused up so much excitement within me. For the first time, the job scope of the work was 100% what I wanted. Within the next week, I started my WFH internship at The Project J.
While this entire process has been one of my biggest blessings of 2020, it was definitely not smooth sailing. I had experiences and feelings that got me down and overwhelmed. I look back in hindsight and realised that it is through those difficult times that I learnt the most.
So before I officially close this chapter of my life, here are 3 things I learnt during my internship.
1. Grace, grace and more grace
Though my title is marketing and creative intern, I am a lot more familiar with marketing. But I did a lot more designing for social media posts and an upcoming product. The learning curve was particularly steep for a journal we were working on. The concept was something I have NEVER done before. I kept churning out designs and working on it, yet, none of my designs felt right. At the end, I was close to three weeks behind the initial schedule.
Yet, Promise and Shawn never got angry at me. They were never impatient when giving me feedback. I didn’t deserve it. I deserved to be scolded for not being able to deliver on time. But instead, I was showered with their grace and kindness. As a result, I felt so respected and valued.
This first-hand experience of such grace changed the way I viewed work. Of course, it is important to hustle and all. But it is even more important to nurture, to guide, to extend grace whenever needed. Through their actions, I saw Christ. I was reminded of His love, His grace, His mercy.
This will have a ripple effect., Having experienced the grace extended to me, I realised the importance of it and thus will seek to extend it to others. Then they too can experience grace and extend it to others too!.
There are just no downsides in showing grace to others.
2. First thing first: Pray
I get overwhelmed rather easily. Even though there was a lot of patience, work is work. I still want to meet deadlines and meet a certain standard of work.
Every Monday, Promise would list out my tasks of the week. I would then take the first half an hour to break down those tasks into smaller steps. This act was extremely useful in helping me keep track of the things I needed to do. But, it often left me feeling overwhelmed by how much I need to do.
Additionally, the nature of my job meant that there was a lot of editing and re-doing of deliverables. There was so.much.frustration. Thoughts like “Why am I so bad at this?” or “Why do I even bother trying” would creep into my head. Though I knew my thought processes were not logical, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I just was not good enough.
One day, in the midst of the frustration, I heard God saying, “Sue, talk to Me.”
I closed my laptop and spent the next few minutes pouring my heart out. All my thoughts and fears were laid out in front of God. When I was done, I just felt so comforted and so much calmer. It was right there and then that I realised, in any situation, pray first!
Since then, I’ve become so much more intentional about praying - especially during times when I felt like I don’t have enough time to finish everything.
The most amazing thing is that I felt a shift in my heart and attitude towards work. There are still a lot to be done and the back and forth still occasionally stresses me out but, it is not as overwhelming anymore knowing that God is with me every step of the way.
3. Your worth is not defined by your productivity.
Since day one, I’ve had the habit of sending Promise a list of things I’ve completed. There were some days where I could easily complete 6-7 tasks. But on other days, I can barely finish three things.
For some reason, I set fairly high standards for myself. I felt like nothing I designed was it and nothing I wrote packed a punch. I felt awful - as if I was such a bad intern that could not even think. A part of me nagged, you’re just wasting everybody’s time and money.
Upon realising that I often had such destructive thoughts, I had to take a step back and reflect. My worth as a person was being equated to my productivity. Sure, being productive is important. But having unproductive days does not mean I was a bad or incapable intern / person.
The irony was that I was exposed to Biblical values every single day during work but it still took me a while to internalise that my worth is in Christ alone, not my achievements or my productivity. I can have many Biblical reminders in every aspect of my life, but I needed to take proactive steps in renewing my mind and cancel out those destructive thoughts.
The whole experience was a great lesson for me.. Realising the extent of my own weaknesses and fallen nature,, I started to see the importance of what it meant to be found in Christ and not in my achievements. Afterall, there will always be something bigger that we can do and greater achievements we can strive towards. I’ve learned that perfect peace comes from being found in Christ and resting in Him. Nothing beats working from that state of restedness - no striving, no beating myself up all the time, and just leaning into His amazing grace.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. - Colossians 3:23-24
My worth wasn’t found in how many tasks I completed that day. He loves me the same whether I checked off three to-dos or ten.
I genuinely am going to miss my time in The Project J. From the frustration I felt to laughters over meals, I look back now and realised that God was with me throughout every second of the day. Not only that, He was also teaching me new things every single day. The lessons I learnt during this internship are definitely lessons that I will carry with me through future work and beyond!
As much as my internship with The Project J has blessed me, I hope that my short sharing blesses you too! Comment below or DM us on our instagram @theprojectjsg if you would love to continue the conversation - share your experience or learning points!