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“Org Work” vs. Internships

Best Practices

College students have been more keen to pursue internships, especially students who actively participate in organizational work (org work). Whether their reason is to embellish their resumé and/or gain new experiences, what has surely changed over time is their perspective prior to and during their internship journey. A few students from the Ateneo de Manila University share their experiences arising from the dual perspective they have as org members and interns.

From Casual to Professional

Noelle Lejano, Promotions Associate Officer of the Company of Ateneo Dancers (CADs), notes how org work and internship work are different in terms of their level of professionalism. Working as a Public Relations (PR) Intern at Sunnies Studios and Sunnies Face, she noticed how there is “always a certain poise” she naturally has as an intern, compared to her casual, almost informal demeanor in an org environment. Giulia Martinez, a sophomore from Ateneo Blue Repertory and a Copywriting Intern at Quadra attests to this, saying that for her, such disparity arises from the nature of the people she works with. In contrast to the comfortable and casual atmosphere fostered by fellow org members within the same age and year level ranges, internship work belongs to a more formal, professional culture, given that the higher-ups in these workplaces are usually people of different ages and backgrounds.

Contrasting Communication Directives

Working as a Social Media Management Intern at Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines (SHIP), Zheinna Lozano says that certain protocols for collaboration usually involve communicating with the company through a platform, accompanied by supervision with a head or mentor. On the other hand, she says that communication lines for collaboration are less structured in her work as an Externals Staffer in The GUIDON, especially since members are likely to be her close friends. Notwithstanding, the seemingly rudimentary practices for collaboration expected in orgs actually help interns in dealing with more formal structures of collaboration. Dominic Plana, CADs Marketing Associate Officer and PR Head at Cecinq Inc., says that such platforms for collaboration in org work actually turned out to be helpful in grappling with the intricacies of internship work

More Expectations, More Accountability

Carlo Acosta, Javascript Intern at Stackable, explains how there is a higher level of accountability in internships. Such evokes higher expectations and, in turn, larger repercussions when expectations are unmet. In contrast, his experience as the Chief Marketing Officer of CADs exposed him to members who would somehow dismiss their responsibilities, indicating a reduced sense of accountability on the members’ end. Carmina Garcia, Ateneo Psyche Human Resources Officer, expounds more on this heightened degree of responsibility and expectations. In discussing org work, she says that technical knowledge (of one’s job and responsibilities) is of utmost importance in the org setting, especially when given important positions and roles. However, there are different lessons that her liberal youth internship at Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s Team have taught her that student orgs simply failed to impart. Through her internship, she acquired a deeper sense of empathy, humility, and bona fide service. It is to note that these were not only matters that she had to learn for her personal duties; rather, they were more of what the community she works for needs. With this said, internships and the connections built with a vaster range of stakeholders therefrom, demand a higher level of capability, responsibility and thus, a greater sense of accountability. 

When Passion Becomes Something More

Juxtaposing her experiences as a CADs Internals Associate Officer and a Social Media Intern at Grounded PH, Keisha Sanchez says that reaching a sense of fulfillment in orgs seems like an easier feat than finding the same in internship work. Perhaps, she notes, this comes from how the passion she has is equally shared by other members who inspire and encourage her in the org. Aleena Yu Diaz, VP for Human Resources at the Ateneo Management Economics Organization affirms this, saying that she has personally seen people following their passion through joining several organizations, in the hopes of surrounding themselves by like-minded people. In essence, the degree of passion fueled in orgs suffice in making a member feel more fulfilled, provided that the environment supports the member’s own interests and is filled by people who share the same passion as the member. Picking up from this, Aleena then says that it was through student orgs, and the earned sense of fulfillment therefrom, that she was able to find her true passion and take her initial steps to gain a clearer image of her identity. Taking this a step farther, she says that her role as an Employer Branding Intern for Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines helped her market that same identity to not only help herself, but also her company meet their objectives. 

More Independent, Output-Based Work

Justine Icasas, Former Marketing and Social Media Manager at The Good Trade PH, says that internship work is “more output-based” in a way that requires employees to report directly to their superior. Social Media Intern Wira Dosado from Young Start PH expounds on this, stating that such nature of output makes independence and accountability highlighted in internships, compared to how the same are more minimally underlined in managing her org deliverables as a Human Resources Staffer in The GUIDON. Furthermore, Maxine Perez, Social Media Intern at Morning Clothing, says that org work is fundamentally ruled by clear structures of deliverables and tasks, whereas internship work entails autonomy. Provided such independence with minimal guidance from supervisors, interns are offered challenging opportunities for pushing comfort boundaries in the process.

Some Important Takeaways

To sum up their experience, the same students share a few takeaways and lessons they got from their experience in both kinds of work:

On Career Growth

“Because of my internship and org experience, I now appreciate student orgs as a way of training you to become a part of the working force.”

Carlo Acosta, CADs Chief Marketing Officer, Javascript Intern at Stackable

“Things you learn in your internship are a lot more applicable in org work (and vice versa) than you think!”

Maxine Perez, CADs Street Core Member, Social Media Lead at Morning Clothing

On the Learning Process 

“While some might associate being good with being the most competent, I’ve always associated being good with doing good for others. The competence will follow.”

Carmina Garcia, Ateneo Psyche Human Resources Officer, Liberal Youth Intern at Team Kiko

“There’s less time for lazing around, procrastinating, and even working on your hobbies especially because you’re focused on outputs, meetings, etc. But one thing I try to keep reminding myself is to take some time to rest as well.”

Justine Icasas, CADs Marketing Associate Officer, Former Marketing and Social Media Manager at The Good Trade PH

“It’s okay to not know what you’re doing! Learn, learn, learn! You can’t always be an expert at everything; seek help from those around you if you know you can’t do the job alone, or you can’t do it best.”

Keisha Sanchez, CADs Internals Associate Officer, Social Media Intern at GroundedPH

On the “Real World”

“When actual lives are on the line, you can’t say ‘This is what I’ll do because it worked in this project.’” 

Carmina Garcia, Ateneo Psyche Human Resources Officer, Liberal Youth Intern at Team Kiko

“You can make a difference on every-level. Both student organizations and companies contribute to something bigger than themselves. Both have an array of functions and positions and levels you can find yourself in, but wherever you are and whatever positions you choose, know that what you do in that position affects the organization’s/ company’s progress in reaching their goals.”

Aleena Yu Diaz, Vice President for Human Resources at Ateneo Management Economics Organization, Employer Branding Intern at Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines