"Summer is going to end and Fall is coming; same goes to both my internship and my second year of degree."
People has been asking me about my internship: You're only 18/19, how come are you doing your internship younger than usual? Why am I taking my internship when I am only in my first year? Why is my internship only one month? Why am I taking my internship back in Malaysia? How did you manage to get that internship? Where, how, when, what so on and so forth. I am here to tell everything, including my experience!
In case you do not know, I have just finished my first year degree in Quantity Surveying in UWE, Bristol and like most international students, I came back to my home country for summer to spend time with my family and friends - more like avoiding myself from overspending there for holidays and stuffs, lol. Our summer break is for three months just like the Malaysian University semester break, I'm assuming?
"You're only 18/19, how come are you doing your internship younger than usual?"
I studied in an international high school after I finished my PMR in SMK SETA and graduated about 6 months earlier than my SMK friends. About 2 months later, I took a one year foundation in Taylor's Lakeside University and I swear time passed way too fast! Even before my year end exams ended, I was already busy preparing documents to go overseas. So here I am, 18 and in university. I envy those younger ones though!
"Why am I taking my internship when I am only in my first year? Why am I taking my internship back in Malaysia?"
Kiasu. My aunt and grandaunt happened to be QSes as well and have a company of their own - JB Bergabung. So why not, right? To be honest, this is not a real internship (if that makes sense). I decided to come here on my own without a school letter or without the school's requirement. I am back in Malaysia for my summer break so I thought of learning something during this period. I will have to have a formal internship that lasts about 3 months in my second year or third year.
"Why is my internship only one month?"
I came back around mid June and the jet lag was hitting in so badly that I literally slept most of the time during the day for a week! I started the next week which was also the last week of June, I worked
my whole life for the whole July and mid August. All work no play makes Jack a dull boy, I want to go meet my friends in KL! :(
How did you manage to get that internship?
My caring and reliable hero arranged all this for me, all I had to do was to just show up and sign a short contract.
The first day was tiring and remember how awkward everything was. I was the only Chinese (besides my grandaunt) and I was worried that I would be no help at all since I am only in my first year in degree.
This is where I was assigned to seat throughout my whole internship period here and I was like, "Wooo, a desktop on my own!" Well, this picture wasn't taken on the first day though, it was taken only recently. The first thing I had to do was to fold drawings, both A3 and A2 size, along with the other interns/trainee. Mind you, I was not told what to do, I have to actually ask around myself and gosh was that awkward! It is not all just about asking around but I had to also tell them what I know and what I do not know.
To be confident and daring to ask, you have the right to ask what you don't understand. It's okay to feel doubtful sometimes but always remember this quote from the useless Magikarp, 'I swear to God when I evolve, I'm going to kill all of you'.
On the second day, Nicole, a Chinese staff came and I felt so belonged immediately. Disclaimer: I am not a racist, I am a rather timid person and I get all awkward and stuff like that really easily. I went to her and introduced myself etc. and asked her if there was anything for me to help or measure or calculate. She first gave me one of her old projects and wanted me to take off the trench and foundation of the site and when I saw the drawing, I literally stared at it for like an hour and did not understand a thing. I then went to my university's portal where my lecturers' notes are and take them as references.
To my astonishment, nothing was the same. Nothing. There were no projections and stuffs like that; I was doubting my choice of life at that time but what I learnt yesterday - to be confident and daring to ask, I decided to go to Nicole for help. I am truly thankful to have someone so kind-hearted like her to guide me through by far most difficult phase of teenage/young adult life.
I knew this, it is almost like common sense but I never thought that I would ever forget this - that UK and Malaysia's buildings and constructions etc. will somehow be different due to the weather that UK and Malaysia have. Malaysia refers to SMM2 while UK refers to the NRM2 which is somewhat similar to SMM7. Here is a table from my favourite reference book: Willis' Elements of Quantity Surveying (12th Edition) comparing both of them if you're interested.
The importance of internship! You will learn things that even reference books will not tell you but only experiences. You do not only improve your interpersonal but also your intra-personal skills too. You can definitely say that this is a lifelong learning opportunity.
My days there got better though, I managed to open up and socialise with the others. I have no awkward feelings (I still have about 40% tbh lol) and I even went out for lunch with them at Sushi King and even bought makeup together at Plaza Pelangi lol. Close enough that I even wore their university's coat that has a very cool logo like this. They even had their names printed at the side of it; I was wearing Fazleen's coat if you're wondering what was written on the other side of the coat in the second picture below! Funnily enough, Fazleen happened to be one of my high school senior from SMK SETA!
Socialising with your co-workers are important, you wouldn't know when you need their help, plus, you can also learn things/experiences from them. It would also make your working days a bit more colourful and interesting.
Days were really getting better except for the mornings! I am not a morning person at all and I hate waking up earlier than 8am or before the sun rises. (Hands up if you're the same?!) It is not that I do not want to sleep early but it is because I can't seem to sleep sometimes. Every morning was like death to me and my bed was like God; crawling to my bed helplessly as the mornings pull me away.
This was so different from university life, lectures were not that early and you have longer breaks in between. I work from 8:30am to 5:30am every single weekday and I normally arrive earlier and leave later :( But I am no one to complain or rant here, I am pretty sure the others work longer and harder than me, even the trainees work longer than me, considering that I am only here for a moth plus.
The first pciture is what I have my back facing at from my seat, and the second picture is to what that is on my right - the office of the person whom I look up to when I was in my foundation year, my grandaunt. It's the room with the window and lights off. I took that picture at about 4pm when the office was rather empty because would it not be awkward if people see me taking pictures with my phone squatting down, tip toeing etc. haha.
Enjoy your study life while you're still at it, working life wouldn't be as fun as you think. So study hard and excel! You might be the boss one day and you will not have to wake up as early and leave as late.
I love this picture the most, the view of the office - not messy but not neat. The perfect rolls of drawings, the heavy boxes of papers, the stacks of plans, the beautifully arranged files; makes me feel like as if everything is under control and well organised. I wanted to leave so soon but then I think I will miss it, just a little. For now, I think I will just enjoy my studies and make sure I excel and maybe one day I will succeed just like my grandaunt or even better.
This post about my experience might not be really useful or meaningful or inspiring enough but I would only say that internship is something that I personally think internship is something everyone should experience; it let us experience how working life is and also to open our eyes, especially young rebellious teens like me who only wants to enjoy and have fun, that studying is somehow very much better than working.
Working is like being tied down but if it's something you enjoy then it will be nothing but exciting and interesting. Choosing your course is a really important step in life
especially if you're an asian lol. Dear baby brother (or to anyone else at all), I want you to know that it's okay if you feel pressured especially when dad and mom compare you with others or push you too hard. It's okay, everything in life happens for a reason.
I didn't even know what I wanted back then, I just chose it because I like math. I doubted myself lots of time, my results are nothing worth being proud of to be honest but for now, I think I enjoy living with rulers, calculators and numbers.
"Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest."