My First Week in Finance

Career Life Personal

Hi everyone! So, I’ve got some good news and bad news to share with y’all. If you’re an avid reader (first of all, THANK YOU ❤ you have no idea how much I appreciate you), the bad news is that I accidentally got coffee all over my laptop and had to get it sent to repairs. I’m currently posting on my phone so that explains any typos and the boring stock photo. Y’all have no idea how upset I am; this mishap hit right when I was starting to get used to a more consistent blogging schedule. Fortunately, the library is open all summer and I am 100% committed to going every chance I get. I want to thank everyone who consistently reads my posts or even just checks in once in a while. It means the world to me!

Now, the good news!

If you follow me on any social media you probably heard me excitedly squealing about snagging an amazing finance internship with a well-known firm. Last Monday marked my first week on the job and it’s been such a memorable experience that I felt the need to write about it. Of course it’s only the first week, but I want to share what’s happened so far and let you guys in on the experience!

Before I begin let me tell you that I walked into this position with absolutely zero knowledge in finance. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, like at all. I had a broad idea of what a balance sheet was and I knew there was a difference between investment and wealth management, but besides that I literally walked into work not having a single idea of what I would be assigned or what my role entailed. There was some excitement to that; the idea of knowing that I’d be immediately immersed into the work and learn from first hand experience is definitely appealing. I was excited, but I was also very nervous. In my mind there was so much that could go wrong, especially when dealing with money that’s not yours. On top of that I knew getting used to the 8-5 lifestyle was going to be a challenge, but hey, I couldn’t let myself forget just how lucky I am to have had this opportunity, so here’s exactly how my first week went:

The first day was… interesting.

Monday was orientation day for all the summer interns, so all 600 of us were all packed into one hotel conference room ready to listen to speakers tell us how great our summer will be and how much we’ll learn. As I expected, I didn’t recognize 99% of the faces there, and since networking is not the easiest thing for me I was a little (read: a LOT) nervous. I shouldn’t have chosen to stay to myself, but I did simply because of the fact that I needed time to process everything and really wanted to listen and observe. Also, it was 8 a.m.; pretty explanatory. As more and more speakers communicated with us and talked about the firm, however, I began to feel more confident and was actually more and more impressed by the caliber of the firm. You never really know the diversity and culture of a firm until you actually experience it, and I felt right at home. The day flew by and before I knew it I was on the train back home mentally preparing myself for the rest of the week.

Tuesday was another orientation day and the day I got to meet the rest of my team; because of the fact that we were split into a smaller group I pushed myself to be more social and even met some amazing people! It wasn’t until Wednesday that I actually got the chance to see my office and start actual work, but with my complete lack of knowledge it was only fitting that the “work” was online trainings. In the span of a week I learned way more about finance than what I’ve known my whole life; I caught on quicker than I had expected with the help of my team.

I think the most challenging moment that week was the moment my supervisor gave me my assignments for the summer. I didn’t understand any of it, but it was too late to turn back now. I felt like I was going through a really dark cave with nothing but a tea light candle, but realistically I know now that I’m just barely building up my toolbox and will be able to breeze through my assignments in no time. On my first day I thought these ten weeks seemed like an eternity, but I’m already on week 2 and gaining more and more confidence each day.

Overall, this first week has been humbling.

Why humbling? Because there were moments where I did doubt myself and wondered if I even belonged there. Do you know how frustrating it is to have people talking to you about things you have absolutely no knowledge of? I understood each word individually, but when they were strung together into sentences I couldn’t decipher anything anymore. It is also discouraging seeing my peers navigate through their own experiences so smoothly because of the fact that they’ve already had other internships or have been exposed to the terminology before. I know I shouldn’t compare myself or get upset when it’s only been one week, and I also know that whatever I get out of this experience is dependent on the attitude I choose to have, but I’m still taking the time to digest the role I’m in.

I think trying a role which you have absolutely no knowledge in is something everybody should try once in their lives. You all know I’m a huge advocate of stepping out of your comfort zone, but this is especially critical in terms of your career. We are young and have so many years ahead of us, it’s important to remember that whatever you’re doing now or choose to do after graduation is not what you’ll be doing the rest of your life. In my opinion, giving yourself the opportunity to explore different paths is something you owe yourself and that you will be grateful for when you’re older and plagued with what-if’s. I’d love to hear your own experiences or thoughts about this in the comment section though! Were you ever placed in a situation you didn’t know how to navigate? Tell your story!

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