Here are a few reflections as a summer intern in the High School Ministry at Saddleback Church:

5. DO get close with co-workers and focus on them more than on projects. I saw the valuable teaching role that people have in my life through this internship. I remember one day specifically, I had a lot of articles to edit and the pressure was weighing down on me, when a coworker asked me if I wanted to go to lunch with her. Everything in me said that I should focus on my work and say no, but for some reason I agreed, and it was such a great conversation about life in ministry and what I’m learning through interning. She gave me lots of great advice and it made working with her on projects such a bigger joy. My editing got done and I actually had a clearer head while doing it.

4. DO hard things. I knew that taking on the magazine would be a large workload, but I took it on knowing it would stretch me as a journalist. Boy, did it ever! Not only do I feel more prepared to be Features editor of the Biola University’s Newspaper in the coming semester, I also feel better prepared to have a career in this field. Organizing and leading a team was a challenge because of my lack of experience, but navigating that has been such an area of growth for my problem-solving and leadership abilities.

3. DO communicate as much as possible with coworkers. I wrote in one of my journals for the class that I was having trouble with the graphic designer for the magazine. I was hoping to see some layouts a few weeks ago, and he didn’t show me any for the longest time. If I had clarified in the beginning that I was expecting to see layouts BEFORE deadline to know that he was making progress, we wouldn’t have any problem because we could have had a conversation about what both of our expectations were. However, since that conversation never happened, there was a long period of mystery and uncertainty regarding when he was going to show me any work. It was frustrating for me and didn’t get me anywhere because I didn’t express it to him, so he had no idea that I was annoyed. I could have saved myself a lot of time worrying if I had just talked to him upfront!

2. DON’T be “above” anything. This is a lesson that I have discussed before, and one that was daily reinforced by the staff. Refusing to do something (or doing it with a poor attitude) because it’s not what you’re passionate about displays an entitled sense of self. Interning is about learning through experience, and certainly God can teach us through tasks beyond our specific calling or role. I learned a lot cleaning out a closet (like how much easier it is to do things with a team, and how to serve others, and how one person’s sour attitude can spoil it for everyone, and how giant cardboard iPhones should never be kept because they take up way too much space).

1. DO take time to reflect, breathe, and commune with God.  My stress level during this internship was directly related to the time I spent with God. The days when I was most stressed were the days I skipped time with the Lord, and that negatively affected how I handled myself and navigated conflict at work. Without daily time with God, I can become irritable and closed off. With daily time with God, I have a better view on what’s important and find a lot more joy in what I’m doing and who I am. He is key. Success is nothing if God is merely an afterthought.

Heather Leith is an incredible summer intern on the HSM Team. Follow her semi-annual Tweets at