July 6, 2017

It seems like every college-aged blogger I follow is participating in a summer internship--but who can blame them?  Summer is the prime time for gleaning work experience.  If you're planning on following in their footsteps in the future, this is a humble guide crafted from my experiences as an intern that is meant to curtail any fears you have about starting an internship on the right note.

A little background behind my own internships:  the first one I completed was part of a curriculum at my high school that involved doing modified clinical rotations at different healthcare practices for several hours each week.  I'm currently job shadowing at a local veterinary referral hospital that performs specialized surgeries and emergency care.  Now, without further ado:

Prep For A Day

1. Start With Good Communication:  Nothing is quite as perilous as being unsure of the details behind your internship:  basic snippets ranging from the workplace uniform (provided there is one) to the entrance you should use.  If you are truly serious about pursuing an internship, take the initiative to find the answers to these questions at your workplace--the sooner the better.  Doing this will make future endeavors much easier.

2. Know Your Purpose:  Stemming from the above advice, being unsure of what your daily tasks consist of is a nerve wracking proposition.  Similarly, standing around awkwardly while desperately trying to find someone to direct you is not the best way to establish yourself at a workplace.  It's quite simple to prevent this situation from occurring:  just ask a few key questions about your role at the workplace.

3. Be As Helpful As Possible:  Even if you feel unsure about striking up conversations with other employees or interns, showing a willingness to help others speaks volumes on your behalf.  Lifting items, holding doors, fetching equipment:  completing each of these small tasks establishes you as a conscientious and thoughtful intern (no nerve-wracking feats required).

4. Be Kind To Yourself:  In other words, don't berate yourself for feeling awkward or uncomfortable during your internship.  Allowing yourself enough time to become accustomed to this new environment is the only way to abolish those feelings of anxiety. Until that occurs, self-inflicted negativity only takes away from the internship experience.

5. Take A Deep Breath:  If this is your first internship experience, remember that being a bit anxious or scared is completely normal--but also remember that an internship is an exciting opportunity, no matter what form it takes.  Inhale, exhale, and prepare to learn!

Truly, internships are one of the most valuable learning tools available to younger generations.  Being immersed in a work environment provides a greater understanding of a certain field--and, to a certain extent, a greater understanding of yourself and your capabilities.  Remember:
"The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself." -- Mary L. Bean
Do you have any advice about tackling internships?


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