internshipI’m just going to let it all out and say that it is a hard life for a 20-something intern. We are anxious, broke, and usually lacking experience. We are struggling to find a balance between the stereotypical ‘party every weekend’, social network-addicted college life and that of a working professional.

Student loan payments are just around the corner as we try to pass those last few required courses, all while still trying to impress our bosses and get our mothers to do our laundry just this one last time.

Okay, maybe it’s not that difficult, but it can still present a challenge. For all you interns with piles of creative energy and ideas but no one to share it with, there is hope!

Oakland UniversityI recently had the amazing opportunity to work with my Oakland University peers and local community leaders at the OU Inc to test the development of a new program. The simulation focused on using collaboration to solve challenges that companies, non-profits, and local governments face every day. With the help of young and innovative scholars, community members presented their problems and gained alternative insight into the obstacles they faced.

The experience allowed me to better understand the importance of collaboration. We don’t have to go at this alone, and actually we’re probably better off working in groups. Collaboration seems to be human nature.  Now I’m no Betty Crocker but check out this recipe below!

An Intern’s Recipe for Collaboration

Aristotle once said something about a whole pizza being greater than each slice

1. Collaborators
A. Business Partners
B. Classmates
C. Coworkers
D. Organizations
E. Minions

2. A reason

A. Ideas

Every day we are given opportunities to share our ideas with others. These ideas, with the help from trusted individuals, can develop into something that maybe alone, we were only able to imagine, but together, can actually create. Two words: collective action.  A new marketing strategy. A website for your organization. Creating a non-profit.

B. Problems

We are faced with problems of varying levels in almost all aspects of life. As employees, students, parents, or businesses, there is a proverbial table that allows us to lay out our problems and sift through the dirty laundry in order to figure out a better way of doing things.  Collaboration creates solutions. How can we improve our company’s brand? What will help us get out of this deficit? What areas of schooling/education are hurting our children’s advancement and how do we fix them? How can I get an A on this ridiculous group project?

C. Programs
D. Conferences
E. Business Ventures
F. Just about anything a mutual group wants to work on!

PreparationIf you have a great idea, share it with your friends. Often times we need someone else’s perspective to achieve our goals. This works on a larger scale as well.

Did you just think of a new project for your employees to help you with? Put together a meeting. Want your university to start serving beer in the cafeteria? Rally some ‘frat bros’ and present a proposal to the school board. The opportunities to collaborate are endless!

Tips and Tricks:
– There is always someone willing to help you. Do not be afraid to ask.
– Network, network, network.
– Your original plan may never come to fruition. It will be molded by the opinions of others into an even stronger idea.  Have confidence and just go with it.
– If you end up hating what the idea becomes, throw that garbage away and start over.

amanda-bennoAmanda Benno is an Oakland University senior, currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in International Relations. She is currently the Vice President of Recruitment for the Public Health Brigade at OU, as well as an active member of Gamma Phi Beta.

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