One of the Most Important Lessons I Learned Came from One of my Interns

Interns are the lifeblood of many organizations, especially minor league sports teams, startups and small businesses. I had a bunch of internships before, during and after school, and loved all but one of them. The attitude and effort of the people I worked with were just as important to my development as my own quality of work was. I don’t regret taking a single one of those spots.

In the years since I left the world of internships, I’ve had some interns of my own (and even managed some while I was an intern myself). Despite often being the one in charge, I’ve still learned a lot from the interns I manage. The youngest one I’ve ever dealt with showed me something that I hadn’t seen in any of the previous kids I’ve worked around, even though I’ve had some great help over the years.

I’ll get to that lesson in a moment. But first, an important factoid, brought to you by Captain Obvious: math is hard. I did fairly well in it during high school (say my standardized test scores), but I never liked it or saw its relevance to my life. I didn’t take a math course once I received my WHS Diploma. I didn’t intend to take one ever again, with hopes of being in math-free workplace for the entirety of my career.

When I first saw Tommy’s resume and work samples before this past baseball season, I perked right up. There aren’t too many high schoolers that collect quantitative analysis about NFL quarterbacks and their predicted earnings based on QB rating. I knew his work would be great not just for the Tornadoes’ Media Relations Department, but potentially for the performance of the team on the field and our income off of it. His love of incorporating stats into sports gave us another enthusiastic employee to help us through a tough summer.

I’m now reading a book on Statistics to create an understanding of how to use numbers to derive insight from a company’s or person’s actions. I’ve been a huge fan of out-of-classroom learning ever since I graduated from BU, but I hadn’t delved back into the world of math since the days Mr. Tompson was teaching one minute and rambling about his “friend” NFL running back Tony Dorsett the next. I’m glad my mathematical experience is a little different now. Instead of sleepwalking though a pre-calculus class I couldn’t tell you one thing about, I’m absorbing concepts and processes that could actually be relevant to my life.

I had forgotten the importance of math to everyone in the working world, and I never would have remembered without a high-energy guy who put just as much effort into pulling tarp as he did crunching numbers. My time working with Tommy showed me how critical looking at a different side of the equation is to solving problems, whether or not they involve numbers. (Yes, that pun was intended. It’s been a while since I worked a bad one into a post.)

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