How to be a Better Intern

Summer is here for college students and although it’s sad, the days of lounging by the pool everyday are a thing of the past.

Now, as you inch closer and closer to what those who’ve have already graduated college call “the real world,” you’re going to want to start thinking about your future.

I’m writing this blog assuming that you’ve landed a summer internship in your field. If you have, good for you! If you haven’t, you better start applying because the rat race has already begun!

Did I scare you? I hope not, I’m just trying to give you a non-sugar coated dose of reality.

Back to the point of this blog. You’ve landed an internship and you’re ready to dip your toes into your future.

It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s also intimidating. You’re walking into a building filled with people who are older than you with years of experience under their belts ready to put you to work.

I had a couple different internships throughout my college days. One with a non-profit working on creating and putting together email campaigns via Exact Target and another with a big health insurance company working in their internal communications department.

Both of these internships taught me valuable lessons not only about my career of choice but about me as a person.

So, in today’s blog I’m sharing with you some of the most important things I learned while living the #internlife and I hope that you too can make the most of your internships.

Intern

You don’t know everything.

Contrary to popular belief (the thoughts inside of your head) as a twenty-something college student you don’t know everything. So before you even step foot in your new office, cast that notion aside, kick it down the hall, throw it down the garbage chute, burn some sage and forget about it. My advice is to go into your internship with a clear mind and think of yourself as a sponge that’s ready to soak up as much information as humanly possible.

If you walk in with a chip on your shoulder you’ll likely walk out with a footprint on your behind.

Toughen up.

Your boss and your  superiors aren’t going to sugar coat their feedback, maybe some will. But, the fact of the matter is that it’s a tough world out there and you’re going to have to learn how to accept criticism and use it constructively to better yourself. Blaming the boss for your mistakes isn’t going to help you, it’s only going to hurt you because you won’t be opening yourself up to growing! An internship is all about growth both personally and professionally. In that same vein, take any feedback that you might scene as negative and think about it and reflect on it and ultimately adjust your sails and keep moving forward.

It’s not the end all be all.

An internship is just the beginning. It’s a test run of your career to see what you like and what you don’t like. If you go into an internship thinking that you like a certain facet of the industry only to realize it might not be all it cracked up to be, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Instead, keep going, keep learning as much as possible and ask as many questions as you can because at the end of the day, if it’s just not for you, you’ve at least acquired some great experience for your resume.

Try something new.

To this point, interns have the great opportunity to get their hands into different projects. This is because many employees use an intern as a resource to do some of the work they don’t want to do. It sounds bad but it’s true! So, rather than get mad and complain that it has nothing to do with your field, be like Nike and just do it. Not only will you learn a new skill set, you’ll also likely make connections with new people in other departments that you otherwise wouldn’t have come in contact with.

In life, it’s all about who you know and in the future that person you met while running the mail to another department might come in handy and help you land the job of your dreams.

This blog wasn’t meant to paint the picture that interns are nothing but young kids being told what to do for a summer by their superiors.

Instead, this blog was written to kind of shed a light on the reality that internships can be hard, they can be taxing, frustrating, annoying but at the end of the day, this experience is invaluable and you’ll be able to use it to your advantage in interviews and on your resume.

So, put your best foot forward and be a sponge and learn how take criticism constructively.

No one said it was easy but at the end of the day, it’ll be worth it!

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