“In a shopping centre facing the mountain, was the seed of career growth sown. As an acorn to an oak tree this student has solidly grown.”

An eight to twelve month internship is a mandatory requirement for third year students at selected tertiary education institutes to provide industry experience which assists students with their development and skills enhancement.

Transitioning from a student to a full-time employee is a challenging but ultimately rewarding experience. Planted at Kenilworth Centre, a regional shopping centre in the Western Cape has allowed me the opportunity to grow very quickly. The fast-paced environment, tight deadlines and sheer volume of work nearly cracked the shell of this nervous acorn.

In an open plan office, sitting amongst the management team, amplifies the pressure as work delivery and performance can be constantly monitored and judged which could affect the student evaluation. Keeping this in mind, I focused on delivery, effective communication and time management.

As a result, my overall performance improved while I learned to prioritise tasks and schedule activities, taking into account that I had to attend classes every Friday so effectively only had a four day work week.

This experience has equipped me not only with invaluable work experience and insight into retail marketing, crisis communication and project management but also helped me develop a greater level of trust – in others, myself and my abilities.

Be it compiling and distributing memos, updating agreements or fielding queries in the office, the experience I have gained and faith placed in me by each of the managers has helped me develop and grow into a more capable, confident and stronger version of the student that first started in industry five months ago.

In essence, it is safe to say that I have developed into a young oak tree that continues to grow. Each branch filled with experience, strength and support, all of which has defined my character within the working world. I pay homage to all that has nurtured this young and naive acorn into an independent and conquering oak tree. This is only the beginning.

Written by Jade Sam, Marketing Intern: The Blue Room (based at Kenilworth Centre)