Intern Blog

Be A Sponge

Aug 02, 2021

Putting yourself in a new situation or environment can be stressful and overwhelming. When facing a new challenge, we tend to set extremely high expectations for our adaptability and performance. Often, it is easy to get discouraged when experiencing difficulties, and it can be hard to maneuver the obstacles that come with new experiences.

As an intern at Cohen & Company, I am currently experiencing a challenge like this. Like most interns entering the accounting field, I have found myself stressed, confused, and at times, lost when I am working on a project. I have quickly realized that the work accountants do is much less black and white compared to what I learn in the classroom. There is so much more to learn in the world of accounting, and it is a lot to take in as an intern who is just beginning their career. A common piece of advice we have received from firm leaders is to “be a sponge.” We are encouraged to absorb everything we can and learn new things each day; they remind us to not get discouraged through struggle but rather to learn as much as we can through challenges.

As I come across new concepts and ideas that I have never seen before, I constantly find myself asking questions. Why are we doing this? How does this fit into the big picture? What if the situation was a little different? I have found that this is a critical piece to developing the skills and knowledge that I need. A lot of situations, methodologies, IT systems, and accounting rules I am seeing for the first time at Cohen & Company. At the beginning of my internship, I was so focused on what I already knew and how it could help me find success. Taking information and skills you already possess is undoubtedly an important part of facing new experiences. However, figuring out what you do not know and growing from that is just as important. By facing problems as an opportunity to learn and grow, I have started to expand my knowledge base and develop new skills.

I try to maintain this perspective each day throughout my internship. Instead of getting discouraged or giving up when I run into challenges, I ask questions to try and figure it out. Most of the time, I may not have the answer, but I am surrounded by people who are happy to help me find it. While facing these different problems, I remember to be a sponge. Each problem I face is an opportunity to absorb more knowledge so that I can become a better accountant day by day.