Reflections on my time with Cruden - Roshni Advani, Intern

Roshni Advani Intern

As I write this, I’m in my last week of my internship with Cruden. What was supposed to be an in person, 10-week internship was cut down to a virtual, 4 week internship and while it’s all too easy to focus on what could have been, this blog will focus on the incredible life lessons I’ve learnt from my time here.

From the very first Marketing meeting I had, I noted how closely everyone focuses on the minutia of details and how crucial that is to deliver a top-notch product. While that seems obvious in hindsight, I assumed that details were only important to some people and upper management didn’t trouble themselves with it but in actuality, everybody needs to be on their A-game and check every document that goes through their hands, even if it’s just on the off chance that they notice something others have missed.

Another thing I quickly picked up on was the focus on honesty. If someone didn’t like something, it was said as tactfully and kindly as possible. It’s not said personally and shouldn’t be taken as such, but hearing “no, I don’t like that light fixture, so we need to change that” was a little surprising to me. It’s not as though my life is full of lies and deception, but most communication with my peers that requires brutal honesty is usually like treading on eggshells because the last thing you want to do is hurt somebody’s feelings, but in this new corporate world I’ve been exposed to, feelings aren’t really part of the equation; it’s just business.

In the past, I’ve struggled to figure out which note-taking system works best for me (Cornell, bullet journaling, shorthand, the options are endless) and throughout my time here, I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve been overcomplicating it. My mathematics teacher from school was very vigilant in the way we were supposed to take notes and with hindsight, I actually really like her method: simple. I wrote down everything I could, even some trivial observations that weren’t strictly business related and it sounds so easy as I write this but being able to go back and use active recall in referring to my past notes was so incredibly helpful.

I also had the privilege of learning and observing incredibly strong women. Construction is a male dominated field, that’s no secret but the way that each woman I met exuded confidence was awe-inspiring. I grew up playing very male-dominated sports (being the only girl amongst 60+ boys at cricket camp when I was 8 was a challenge) and found it very difficult to be confident in myself because of what I can now recognise as blatant sexism. This meant that in that aspect of my life, I didn’t have anyone to turn to for advice when my male peers (and sometimes coaches) were rude and dismissive. Throughout this experience, while no one was disrespectful, I’ve watched as they commanded the (virtual) room when they needed to, used tactful language to get their point across in a concise and kind manner, gave instructions and provided feedback in a way that showed strength in every fibre of their being (even if they didn’t realise it) and so for that, I can only say thank you.

The last thing I’ll be covering in this blog post (although there are many others that would turn this into a novel) is that after months of being in limbo during the pandemic, the internship provided me with some semblance of a routine and with that, showed me that I’m most productive in the morning so organising my tasks became easier. I also realised how important taking breaks is: what would have been a short walk to fill my water bottle up in the office has become running downstairs to tell my mum what my new project consists of. If I notice my focus faltering, I’m comfortable enough to step away from my desk for a few minutes so I can come back to work with a fresh mindset.

One of my goals before starting the internship was to exercise daily and I really don’t know why I thought starting a full time job and a rigorous exercise schedule at the same time was appropriate so I’m quite glad that one didn’t pan out and I didn’t achieve every goal I wanted to. What I quickly realised was that the internship wasn’t solely about checking goals off of a list. I started this process to learn new things, grow as a person and get comfortable in a new environment and I think I did each of those things. In the end, I’m really proud of myself and immensely grateful to Cruden for taking a chance on me in the midst of chaos, thereby granting me the opportunity of a lifetime.

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