In today’s job market, internships and co-ops are instrumental in the journey to your future career. Participating in these programs helps you not only gain technical knowledge of your industry but can assist in defining your interests. Overall, internships and co-ops can provide lessons in time management, adaptability, teamwork, and company culture.
Honors student and Auburn Professional Flight senior Push Saha spent last year co-oping with FedEx Express. Push worked the nightshift in their Memphis, Tennessee location and worked in flight coordination with the company. On any given day Push could be found closing out flight plans throughout their global network, while confirming times, fuel totals, and delay codes; verifying the accuracy of wet lease flight information; assisting the random drug & alcohol tests for pilots and send them to get tested; managing the 225 sleep rooms for operating pilots that need rest before operating out on their next trip; and coordinating and ensuring on-time performance of flights in high-volume Memphis airspace.
We asked Push about his favorite parts, his biggest lesson, and the importance of an internship or co-op.
My favorite part about the internship was talking with all my pilots and getting the opportunity to jumpseat with a few of them. The pilots love hearing about what I have to say and where I’m at in college/flight training. I got to know them on more than just a professional basis. I would get invited to go to their house for dinner or go play golf with them and just build on the relationship I had with them. They would all mess around and tell jokes with me whenever they were coming in after a trip or leaving to go fly around the world. They got so many great stories to tell about flying and life which I appreciated a lot.
The Biggest Lesson Learned
The biggest lesson I learned was that my internship was a 12-month job interview and to not be a jerk. I was told that there are always going to be a set of eyes on me during my internship. If I knocked it out of the park and gained the respect of the pilots, I’d be given the opportunity to interview for a pilot slot at FedEx. You always have to be professional and know that you have to work your way up to earning everyone’s respect. I also learned to not be a jerk. That is the polite way of the actual phrase I was told on my first day, too. You don’t want to establish any negative relationships with your co-workers or other pilots or managers because they control if you get to come back to work for the company. Treat the people with the same amount of respect you want. Interns have to earn their way to get their wings and epaulets.
Why Internships So Important
Internships are important because it allows you to get a step into the industry you’re working in and actually see what a day on the job looks like. You gain hands-on experience and learn a lot more about the industry than others would. It confirms whether you’re picking the right career choice. It gives you mentors, family, and friends for life. It tests you to think outside the box and pushes you to be smarter. Being given an offer to intern somewhere is a blessing but making the most of the time you spend there is where you’ll make an impression. You want the experience to put on your resume so that you stand out when it comes down to getting a job later on. Who knows, the same place you interned at may hire you back.
If you are looking for an internship, let the Honors College help. Contact Dr. Laura Whatley for more information on upcoming informational sessions and career events.