The Intern Chronicles: A Day in the Life of A GTL Intern

Hey World,

This is Michael Christopher Childress a proud native of “The First State” Wilmington, Delaware where I was born and raised. I come from a Christian background with roots in the Baptist Church. I was born in the sunny month of June on the 27th. I am 24 years old soon to be 25. Yes, I will be a quarter of a century old and that also means I am an 80’s baby.  Currently, I am a senior at Miles College in Birmingham, AL majoring in accounting.

But that’s enough about me! Let’s talk about this Gateway to Leadership Internship experience. Most people think that acquiring this opportunity was a breeze for me; but that was not the case. If I want something bad enough, I go out and get it. I learned that in life there are three kinds of people - those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen, and those who wonder what happened. I made the conscious decision to be proactive after I was denied this internship the first time I applied. So I applied again and by the grace of God I was selected to be a GTL Fellow. I realize what it takes to achieve success and it does not come through passive activity. Coming into this program, the expectations are very high and not just as an intern, but for the program itself.

I had a close friend who was a GTL Fellow, who continued to cheer me on even when I did not get accepted the first time. She gave me insight on how the program would be, how things would run and how they would treat me - the whole nine. I thought to myself, “If I could get this opportunity it would change the course of my life.” So far my thoughts and my friend’s insight have not misled me! Since  the very beginning of this process, the company that I am interning for has really laid out the red carpet. For example, coming from a lower middle class family where everyone lives paycheck to paycheck, I was raised without certain luxuries. When it was time for me to go to my GTL orientation in Washington, D.C., I was picked up from the train station.  I did not have to worry about transportation because I had a Lincoln town car escorting me to where I needed to be.  Words could not explain the excitement and privilege I felt from this gesture. I realized then, that this company was courting me, yes; courting me just like a man would do to a woman when he is desirous of marrying her. This company was doing the same, only the objective is to win me over as a potential employee.  All of this was new for me considering my background.  Growing up, my mom was a hairstylist, so how much money she made depended on her work ethic. But, it created little wealth for our family.

The question posed is how will I advocate for racial economic equality? I want to provide people with solutions to their economic problems. But, in order to teach others, I must be a student myself first. That is why I took the initiative to be a part of such a prestigious program like Gateway to Leadership. I want to learn about the finance industry from a management standpoint so that I can begin to affect change in my community.  I hope you follow me along my journey!