Before stepping into the real world, some students at SAS challenge themselves to take on real-world experiences through internships and jobs. As employees, students learn the importance of time management, organization skills, how to handle money, and important interpersonal lessons.
Senior Sean Yoo, Danielle Wait and junior Jay You share their stories about working in the real-world.
The Eye: Where and when did you start working at your workplace?
Sean: “I currently work at Blu Kouzina, a Greek restaurant located at Dempsey Road. I started working in the middle of April, a week before my mocks ended.”
Danielle: “ I started working in August, just at the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, at the Goodwood Park Hotel’s front desk.”
Jay: “I work at Tanglin Shopping Center, an educational preparatory center called Seoul Education. I started working here about six months ago, so it was around November of 2015.”
The Eye: How did you apply and how were you able to get a job?
Sean: “I got my job through my friend James Song who was working at Blu about a month or two before me. I didn’t necessarily apply for it, they just asked for my credentials and I was good to go within the next week.”
Danielle: “ I applied via written application, interview, and an aptitude test. I also had a personal connection with the business owner and that definitely helped.”
Jay You: “I never applied for this job. I was asked personally by the owner of Seoul Education if I would consider taking an internship for them. I thought it would be a great experience, so I graciously accepted their offer.”
The Eye: Are you Singapore PR? Did that help in getting the job?
Sean: “Yes, I am a Singapore PR and I’m sure that had some part in helping me land this job. However, James Song and my other colleagues working at Blu don’t have PR statuses and it doesn’t seem like they went through any more trouble than I did to get this job.”
Danielle: “I’m PR and that really did help a lot. If I wasn’t I would have had a much slimmer chance of getting the job. When I told my employer I was a PR they immediately looked relieved.”
Jay: “Yes, I am Singapore PR. I am not sure if it would have helped me get a job.”
The Eye: “What are the pros and cons of having a job outside school?”
Sean: “Well, obviously the fact that I get extra money at the end of each month is a pro for having a job. However, the working hours can be very annoying and it is not uncommon that I stay back until 12-1 in the morning due to customers who don’t leave until very late. Working more than five shifts a week takes a toll on your body, especially if you have school the next day.”
Danielle: “It was really nice to make money and of course to get some practical work experience under my belt; however, it was really difficult to perform well at both school and at my job.”
Jay: “It helps me to maintain my time and organize school work because time is not sufficient when I am interning. It teaches me valuable lessons and experiences on what it is like to work in a business. I really don’t think there is a con to having a job other than that it takes away time to do school work.”
The Eye: “Recommendations for students who are applying for work?”
Sean: “I think interning is a valuable experience everyone should have before jumping into the real world. Through interning, you learn how to manage your money, time, and freedom outside of a coddled environment like school. I think the biggest take-away from having your first job is that you probably won’t fall in love with it. It’s something you can cross off of the long list of jobs you might want, and just in that I think there’s a lot of value.”
Danielle: “I recommend being honest about your capabilities and field of interest, that way you will feel comfortable and confident with what is requested of you.”
Jay: “Find something you enjoy. Don’t do it because you want to put it on the resume, although truthfully it may help. I accepted because it would provide me a great experience and teach me some valuable lessons.”
The Eye: “How has work shaped you?”
Sean: “Work taught me to be patient not only with the arrogant, drunk and demanding customers but also with my slow and sometimes blunder-full coworkers. There is nothing more frustrating than repeating an order to another co-worker right before the closing time, as you try to pour wine and also juggle the desserts at the same time. Working in a restaurant environment will force you to be patient.”
Danielle: “I definitely learned how to work with people around me better, and especially on how to interact with people who are in a higher position than me, since I sort of was the runt of the litter.”
Jay: “I have become more organized, and have developed better skills to manage my time.”
So, how are these applicants chosen to become the intern?
David Hong, from Micron Semiconductor Asia shared what traits companies look for in an intern. “We look for interns who are most importantly interested and willing to find out more in our field of specialty. They must be passionate, hardworking and willing to learn as what you do in the workplace is vastly different from what you learn in class.”
Through internship openings on various educational institute portals, Micron picks high school or college students interested to intern at Micron. Although some corporations favor permanent residents, the Micron company takes in a wide demographic of interns, whether that is a foreigner or a Singaporean.
Meaghan An, the co-head of Seoul Education Center, said,”The persistent work ethics and liveliness of the outstanding students help me define the best candidate for my center’s interns.”
Whether it is an education center, a restaurant or a hotel, students are bound to learn real-life lessons from their internship experiences.