Nabilah shares her heartwarming tale of interning at SGH Communications, where she learnt soft skills and gained valuable work experience.

SGH is no stranger to me. I was born at SGH in 2004. It was a treasured moment for my mother as I am her only daughter and - being the youngest of three – her last childbirth. My mother fondly shared that giving birth to me was the smoothest of her three experiences, as I was such a dainty baby.

Little did I anticipate that 20 years later, I would find myself back at SGH, this time as an intern with the Communications Department. 

Applying through the school’s internship portal, it came down to a toss-up between an opening in Bangkok for media production and SGH, which aligned with my interest in design.  

I realised I was not ready to navigate an unfamiliar city and culture by myself for five months, while juggling the everyday demands of a real job. So, I chose SGH, for a chance to develop my design skills.

As my internship approached, my anxiety and apprehension intensified. My curiosity drove me to delve deep into others' internship experiences on Reddit, where I encountered a spectrum of horror stories. 
From tales of intimidating bosses to extremes of either overwhelming or insufficient workload. It seemed like there was no middle ground—either being given too much work or confined to meaningless tasks such as stapling handouts, compiling reports with no real learning opportunities. 

Being the overthinker that I am, I naturally expected the worst of my upcoming internship. As said in Marvel's Spiderman No Way Home, "Expect disappointment and you'll never be disappointed."

The night before I started at SGH, I anxiously sought my family's advice on "office attire." Despite reassurances from my parents, I could not shake the worry about what to wear on my first day and how the day would go. 

The next morning, I reported at the HR office, where I met two fellow interns from Republic Polytechnic. Relieved to have company, together we embarked on our first day at SGH.

It was the start of many firsts. Such as attending an office meeting. Hey, it was actually like what I saw in television dramas - someone presented and everyone asked questions. I expected something scarier, like being grilled with tough questions and then getting scolded for not knowing the answers. 

Another new experience that stuck with me was a visit to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to take some photos for my colleague. The babies were so small, some just the size of my palm. Seeing them looking so fragile made me sad. 

A task that left an impression was being asked to work on the design of a social media playbook for SGH. This was a rather big project and I truly enjoyed the challenge. This real-world experience was so different from class work, where content was always finalised. I had to amend the design every time the content was tweaked, or feedback given on visuals. Still, I had a lot of fun as I was given creative freedom! Also, I was able to apply concepts that I had learnt in school. This helped me reinforce my knowledge of the design concepts.

The last few months have been fruitful and I’ve learned many things. I was able to see and experience what it’s like to work in an office, picking up soft skills on things like communicating with others in the office. 

Before the internship, I was very introverted and reserved - afraid to voice my thoughts. I feel that these past five months I’ve grown more comfortable at expressing my opinions and concerns. When doing projects, I had to force myself to ask my colleagues questions so that I knew exactly what they wanted me to do. 

I remember my first time speaking up here at work, I was so afraid of embarassing myself by asking a stupid question. But there was no judgment here. Instead, my colleagues listened intently and then patiently explained to me. This gave me the confidence to speak up again and again.

Overall, my internship at SGH had been a great experience. The community is very tight knit and supportive of each other. My colleagues were very caring. They always asked me if the deadlines were too tight, or whether I had too much on my plate.

I also believe that there is very good work-life balance. We could Work From Home twice a week and there were frequent department get-togethers like a Christmas party, and a day-off on your birthday…everyone’s well-being is well taken care of! 

These past five months, I was able to grow as a person and I’ll carry the experiences I gained into the future.