The first thing I did after I accepted my internship with Schneider Downs was get on Ohio Dominican University's website to see if I could fit an audit class in my schedule for the spring semester, before my internship would start. Before accepting the position, I had planned to take that audit class the following year. When I realized there was no way to fit the class in my schedule, I panicked! I knew absolutely nothing about audit. I thought, "How can I do a job I know nothing about?!" I constantly thought about how embarrassed I would feel when my coworkers realized my lack of audit knowledge. As you can probably infer... this was not the case at all. What I quickly realized at the start of my internship was that no one expected me to be an audit genius, or know anything about audit for that matter. All anyone cared about was my desire to engage fully in everything I did and learn as I go. That is what it's all about!
As I was working on my first assignment...crunching numbers, filling out checklist after checklist...I thought to myself, "This is easy, anyone could do this!" And then it dawned on me: What am I going to get out of this experience just going through the motions, doing what I'm told regardless if I understand why I'm doing it? This is when I realized what an internship is all about. An internship is your time to ask all the questions in the world... To ENGAGE your brain and get an understanding of what a career in public accounting is really about. Realizing that no one expected me to know all the answers, I started asking questions like crazy, and this is when I really started to feel like I was learning and gaining maximum value from the experience.
It really is amazing to look back on how much I have learned, not only about auditing but about public accounting in general in just two short months, and I think this is solely due to my desire to learn more and more in everything I do. Everyone at Schneider Downs is so eager and willing to help and answer every question I have had, and I cannot thank everyone enough for that! When I was told in my interview that interns were treated just the same as first-year staff, I was terrified. Not only have I realized over these two months that there was absolutely nothing to be scared of, I realized that there is no better way of learning. There is nothing I would change about my experience. Besides, now I can go in to my audit class in the fall feeling ahead of the game.
When I first accepted this position with Schneider Downs and was learning about the firm, I googled “Schneider Downs internships,” and I found other Insights exactly like this one from prior interns. As I was reading through them, I gained a lot of great insight about the firm and about what interns do on a daily basis, but what I had wished to see was more advice on what I should strive do to and to accomplish as a future intern. That is why I am writing about this. The best advice I can give from my experience thus far is to never be afraid to ask questions, engage your brain in everything you do and strive to learn as much as you possibly can throughout every task… even if it doesn’t pertain specifically to you. Strive to learn as much as you can about public accounting. That is what this internship is all about.
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