Reflections on an Internship
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 23 seconds
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is from our interactively minded Candace Walker. Enjoy her musings about internship.]
With most internships, you expect things to start off a little slow. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t given challenging projects right way, and give yourself and those around you the opportunity to get situated. It takes time to learn each company’s unique system, and it’s important to be patient while the learning curve takes its course. Remember, your teammates are adjusting to you as well and, with any great team, trust and respect must first be earned.
As soon as you’re given your initial assignment and are more informed about the company, go above and beyond to make it a successful one with the following:
- Make an effort to recognize the strengths of the people around you, get actively involved, and be willing to learn from them.
- Ask as many questions as you need; it’s always better to ask how to do something than to do it wrong.
- Volunteer to pick up last minute projects or stay late to help the team meet a deadline.
- Seek opportunities to prove yourself as a valuable asset to the company.
The more you show your quality of thinking, creativity and passion during your internship, the more the company will know how to best develop your talents and skills. Throughout the internship, keep a journal of all the projects you were involved in, skills you acquired during the time there and new networking contacts. Make it a priority to learn something new each day, whether it’s reading the news or online publications related to your field. Being an active learner on the job will help you become a key contributor during discussions and meetings with co-workers or supervisors. You are here to gain as much real world experience as you can obtain.
Before your internship ends, make sure to schedule an exit meeting with your supervisor and key contacts. This is your opportunity to get a written reference listing your achievements during the internship and take contact details of anyone you think could assist you in the future. One of the most important objectives to complete in your last few days is requesting feedback regarding your entire internship. This is for your benefit and an opportunity to learn your strengths and weakness, as well as how you can improve yourself to become a better employee in the future.
By understanding the significance of being a successful intern, you will be well on your way to realizing what it takes to become a valued, long-term employee. The passion and dedication you put into the job is what will make it a successful one. Do what you love and do it to the best of your ability.
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