Tag Archives: Haylee Matecko

Student Voices: Haylee Matecko Internship

Honors Students away from campus for study abroad, co-ops, or internships are encouraged to write about their experiences to share them with the Honors community. In the post below, Haylee Matecko ’18 shares her experience working as an intern this past semester and her thoughts on making mistakes and feeling at home.

– By Haylee Matecko

Be a sponge, be open, communicate, build relationships, have strong technical skills, be aware of everything going on around you. In a nutshell, I’ve described both my first week and the expectations that were set forth for this internship. It’s incredibly important for interns to constantly be learning and growing, while also taking responsibilities and working towards that potential job offer in our midst.

Our first week was pure training, and it was incredibly fun. We were in the Dallas office all week; just the North Texas region for the first couple days and joined by Houston on Wednesday. It felt a bit like summer camp instead of my actual job, and I think that was a result of the hotel and breakfast buffets. I met quite a few amazing people who were all my intern peers, one of whom I’ll be working with. Casey is a super sweet person who is interested in the same things as me, which we quickly discovered as roommates at training. HGTV and healthy foods became something fun that we bonded over.

Just when we made it to our home office in Austin, the interns were tasked with decorating the offices of our manager and partner for their birthdays, and I think we succeeded! Here’s a “candid” shot of us decorating. It’s supposed to go in their newsletter, which is exciting! (Basically, I’m going to be famous.)

Interns decorating for a party.

Throughout the internship, I had tasks similar to this, like ordering lunch for the whole office, or formulating letters to send to clients- these seem minimal, but to me they meant everything. I didn’t want to make a single mistake, because I was afraid of what would follow. In reality, everyone would probably be incredibly gracious about it and help me to the best of their abilities- and they were when I did make mistakes. But in my mind, they would be upset and/or hangry (we all know that could have happened), and always remember me as “the girl that fell through on lunch.” So anyways, I overcame my nerves once I saw the success of my actions, and I have definitely learned to get rid of the nerves at the onset. It’ll be a long time before that happens completely, though- it’s a process.

I also got to experience what it’s like to be working late…! I would say yay, but I wasn’t super excited to check that one off the bucket list. It was a long day – I started a project at the beginning of March, sent it to my manager for review, and hadn’t heard anything since. Then the project came back with an insane amount of comments and corrections – I know, I know. That’s how the review process works! But I had yet to experience this process, so I took every single comment incredibly personally and felt like I was the worst intern ever.

However, the comments weren’t personal. It took me some time to learn that, but when you’re working on a huge project with three years of tax returns and you get a PDF back with that many comments, it hurts. But I worked late and I’m happy to say 1) it was only until 9, and 2) it didn’t happen again. I later had a performance review for this stressful project, and it was surprisingly super positive. I was so happy to hear that I was doing a good job, because after so many corrective comments I felt that I wasn’t doing things very well around here, or that any efforts I had made went unnoticed.

Aside from the work commentary, the environment at my office was something I really appreciated. The people I worked with are hilarious and Austin is so quirky. I loved spending time with the people here, because it’s something so different from anything I’ve experienced in the past three years of college. I like the normalcy I found, with Casey and my Austin roommates and my UT friends and everything. Austin became my home and I had to leave it. This past summer I worked at a bakery in San Antonio, and that summer changed my life in many different ways. I really didn’t want to leave that environment; it was so hard to readjust once I had become part of that. Then in College Station, I finally began to feel a sense of true belonging when all my friends came for my 21st birthday and I was almost in tears because they were singing happy birthday to me and they were all there, surrounding me, smiling at me because they loved me. Wow, that was a big day. Then two weeks later, I shipped myself off to Dallas for training and then Austin for yet another chapter of this crazy life. I cried hugging my sisters at the airport, I started writing to note the stories of what I did at work, and instead it evolved into something so much bigger. I made friends with everyone in a real way, not just in a surface-level sense. I really feel like Austin is home now, but it’s not the only home. It’s one of three that I’ll be shuffling between for the next month and a half while I figure my life out, finish an online class, travel on family vacation, and celebrate important milestones in the lives of people I love.

And if all that doesn’t make you “feelsy,” maybe you just don’t know how attached I get to home. Home to me is the most beautiful sense of the word; home means people I love and it means comfort and happiness and being completely unguarded. Home is a place where I can let my walls down and just be myself and not worry about being judged or criticized. Every home has its quirks, to say the least – sometimes in Austin we don’t do the dishes, in College Station we had a few roach incidents, and in San Antonio one of the rooms in our house is constantly leaking in the corner when it rains a lot. But these things are beautiful in their own ways, and they (along with the people) make each place home. I am so lucky to have three homes, but it’s definitely a challenge. I want each one to be my primary home; I see a life I could and do lead in each place, and I struggle with that. Each city offers its own quirks and its own life pathway that I could head down, but until I get to the point where have to decide exactly which path to continue down, I think I’ll just let the wind blow me where it does.

So, how can I begin with the end? It’s a sad thing to realize, when your journey of sorts comes to a close. But it’s more about seasons of life; new things can’t begin if old things don’t end.

And now that I’ve spat out some life clichés, I’ll wrap up the way my semester in Austin ended. I finished my biggest projects, working on those babies up until the last possible day. I went home for Easter, and was quite literally checking my computer at home. We finished up filing, and while it felt awesome to be finishing up, I also I started to get emotional about the fact that everything was ending. Even though I had only worked at this office for two months, it had become another home (there’s that emotional buzzword again). The free lunches and free coffee were super nice, but I definitely will miss more than that.

On our last week, Monday we left the office early to head to College Station for a recruiting event which was such a blast! We had a cooking lesson, and I hung out with a lovely recruit. We wore cooking hats and made salad dressing, chicken parmesan, and whipped cream for our cheesecake. It was nice to be with work people, but also just to unplug and have a fun night being silly.

The next day we had our intern goodbye happy hour/party, which was great! Our last full day of “work” consisted of little work and mostly being super excited for the adventure that was the Goodnight (aka bowling and such). Everyone pretended it was such a hassle to drive there, or maybe they wouldn’t come, but guess what? Everyone came. And we had so much fun, bowling and eating and enjoying each other’s company for the last few hours we had it. I stayed a little later than the other interns because I just started getting so feelsy about leaving and I really didn’t want to. I ended up still going home earlier than I wish I had, because once I left the karaoke began! But it’s okay, I’ll just have to be sure I stick around for that one next time.

Austin interns at the goodbye party

Wednesday Casey and I stopped at the office to give our computers back, said our official goodbyes, and then headed out to the Domain mall for our last day of adventures! And with that folks, you have it – my Austin experience ending but with promises for much more in the future. (Surprise, that means I got a job offer!)

If I had to pass wisdom on to future interns, or to anyone willing to listen, it would be:

  • Stop worrying so much about your image. Literally just be yourself, and people will love you. Authenticity and kindness go a long way.
  • Do your best, but don’t be so stressed about being perfect that you make yourself physically sick. It’s not worth it because…
  • You will definitely make mistakes. So instead of kicking yourself for making them, just learn from it. Soak up all the criticism you can, and ensure that doesn’t happen next time.
  • If your coworkers invite you to any experience outside of work, go for it! That’s how you’ll get to know people on a personal level.

So, there you have it. Home #3 is slowly going on a hiatus for the next year or so, but I’ll be back. Back for more taxation and more Austin adventures and more friends and more fun.

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Taking a Chance – Haylee Matecko

An integral part of our Honors Housing Community experience has become the learning community course (LCSE 002) developed to support and extend our freshman “families.” The overarching course goal of this learning community is to help Honors freshmen identify their values and how those values are informing their long-term goals and then to articulate those goals in a personal statement at the end of the year.

University Honors Program students revisit these goals each year in their ePortfolios to reflect on what they have experienced, what they’ve learned from those experiences, and how these experiences have either reinforced or modified their goals. The process of tying together personal interests and talents with academic growth and professional aspirations often results in our students making stronger connections between what they are doing in the classroom and their co-curricular activities.

The following personal statement from Haylee Matecko ’18, demonstrates how taking a chance resulted in tremendous personal growth:

By Haylee Matecko – “Sometimes it is the smallest thing that saves us.” The words of Jonathan Carroll define my life – from my experience, it seems that the simplest of actions tend to produce the greatest results. As a freshman surrounded by sophomores in my first accounting class, I was pretty nervous to begin with. The idea of signing up for a tax case competition run by PWC, one of the big four accounting firms, was nerve-wracking but I decided to try. At least it would be a good learning experience.

I had done a business case competition in high school, but I didn’t know much about tax laws. As my new teammates Marisa and Morgan began to talk about what they found in the case, I realized how far behind them I was. They were grad students, but I was still worried. My other teammates, Josh and Christina, both seemed to know what was going on too. After that meeting, I decided I wasn’t going to be the weak link on the team. I went to the library and researched about everything I could possibly find a way to relate to our case. Each time we met after that, I seemed to be able to say and do more – I was finding confidence in myself, and I was able to bring much more to the team than I thought I could.

Presentation day rolled around, and by that time our team had become really close. We met to work on our presentation every day, and we worked extremely hard, while also taking some time to goof around, get to know each other, and have fun. We focused a lot on our speaking skills and presentation content as well as our visual presentation, making sure that our suits looked good and our PowerPoint slides were crisp. As we walked in to the presentation room, the confidence was almost deafening. We were so prepared it was unbelievable, and we blew the judges away. Our cohesiveness and perfectly flowing teamwork was very evident, and we left the presentation room feeling great. We decided that no matter what happened, we were proud of what we had done.

Fast forward three months, and our team was in Washington, DC with some of PWC’s top professionals, as well as four other competition teams from around the country. Our team did so well that we were chosen as National Finalists out of 550 teams across America! We were amazed, shocked, and most of all excited. Not only did the Finals come with a cash prize, but it also came with a trip to DC.

Morgan Smith, Marisa Parish, Haylee Matecko, Joshua Kim and Christina Chan
The TAMU PWC Challenge Team at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. (left to right): Mari Parrish, Joshua Kim, Morgan Jaresh, Christina Chan, and Haylee Matecko.

It was my first time in DC, and I was amazed. The energy of the city mixed with all the history created such a unique culture. When we arrived in DC, we had a wonderful dinner and a chance to network with some of the top partners and associates. The next morning we presented our case again, while also attending various seminars to enhance our professionalism. But by the end of it all, it didn’t matter whether or not we won in DC, the fact that we made it there was huge for A&M history, as well as for us. The entire experience was amazing, because not only were we able to see all of the sights in DC, but we were given a chance to increase our professionalism and present to a board of some of the top professionals in one of the biggest accounting firms in the country. Not many people can say they’ve done all that as a freshman in college. And on top of all that, the competition concluded with an even greater prize than I ever could have imagined: an internship.

I never thought that signing my name on that simple sheet of paper would ever amount to anything as amazing as it did. My teammates mentored me while I was at the beginning of my college career by challenging me to rise to the standards that were already set for our team. They helped me to grow as a person by teaching me what was expected in the real world while we were in DC, as well as teaching me how to balance classwork with extracurricular activities. They helped me come out of my shell, and I will be forever grateful for that. My teammates helped me to understand that college was actually about the hands you shake, not the grades you make. That lesson will stay with me throughout the rest of my life.

To learn more about the Honors Housing Community, please visit http://hur.tamu.edu/Honors/Honors-Housing-Community.