Life of an Intern: Making the most of your internship!

Summer Internship is the one scary bucket list item most college students plan to cross off before Senior Year. For those of you who are still looking for an internship, here’s the DU Beat guide to prepare you for the same. And for those of you who already have their internship lined up, and are wondering how they can make the most of it, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

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I started as an intern with EY in the beginning of June, and if the last two  months have taught me anything, it is to always make the most of the opportunity you do get. I wish I’d have done some things differently, or some other things I wish I had stayed away from. But it has been a hell of a experience! So, without much ado, here’s how you can make the most of your summer internship:

1. Lay out your goals clearly

It’s imperative that you prepare yourself in advance. You must have already surfed the company’s website and reviewed their social media channels. Do your research to avoid any surprises. Try and list out what you hope to achieve from this internship.It could simply be finding more about the workings of the organisation or it could be ascertaining if you are suitable for that job. Summer Internships are a perfect platform for you to deduce what you are interested in and how you could apply your existing skills and experiences to new situations, in a professional environment. Make sure to list your expectations and objectives of taking up the internship and communicate with your mentor about it routinely to best optimise your internship. Over time, keep evaluating your progress and try to make the changes stick!

  1. Take advice from full timers

When you’re not working, you are networking. Make sure to ask people you’re working with about their jobs and their experiences. Even if the environment isn’t warm and friendly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember that you’re there to learn and there are no silly questions.  You are in a professional environment trying to follow the code of conduct, trying to dress and act professionally considering all coworkers personification of  a valuable networking opportunity. But you are allowed to joke with people around you. You are allowed to breathe and let your hair down. Believe me, your colleagues will even appreciate it! They have been there and will possibly even relate to your conundrums. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them! Offer help whenever you can and always be enthusiastic about the work allocated to you. Before you know it, you’ll soon be accustomed to that environment. (and hopefully will be doing things less awkwardly)

3. Keep your positive pants on!

Often internships can be severely hectic and they may entail insane working hours. You may become disoriented and disillusioned along the way, but always remember the bigger picture. Talk to your mentors/counsellors if things get tough, and they will be sure to understand. Communication is the key. Always keep your positive pants on. You’ll be spending a good portion of your summer there, doing what could possibly be your life’s work so make sure you make it extraordinary. It’s always good to leave with tangible results as compared to incomplete projects. I should warn you, you might feel like this, for a long, long time:

  1. Maintain an Inspiration Board

Carry a journal with you and list down anything that you inspired you, within and outside work. Any skill you required, jargon you learnt, or any extraordinarily talented people you met. Jot down the projects and duties you performed and the skills you acquired while completing them. Chances are you’ll pick countless skills and work constantly on your strengths and weaknesses. It’s always good keep a track of your progress. Tweet about it, blog about it. Make sure you are retaining all those lessons in your head!

  1. Evaluate what you learn regularly

Finally towards the end of the internship, ask yourself if you can see yourself doing the same job 5 years down the line? Did your colleagues challenge and inspire you? There are endless opportunities ahead and so many permutations and combinations you can your shape your career in. You don’t necessarily have to restrict yourself to the kind of work you did during this internship. Explore your interests and your passions. That’s what these opportunities are for, to experiment. Don’t fret if the internship goes wrong. You never know when a bad experience can land you exactly where you need to be!

Have a strong work ethic and learn how to be more assertive with your views and ideas. Be prepared for severe mood swings as well. You’ll be brimming with zeal one day, and extremely bored the other day. Try to accomplish something tangible each day.  Remember this is your chance to make a mark in the “real” world and get a taste of it. Make the most of it!

Goodluck! Feel free to comment below for advice/suggestions regarding your internships. Hoping to hear from you!

This post was originally published by DU Beat.

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