What I Learned From My First Internship
Start writing a post
Entertainment

What I Learned From My First Internship

It was nothing like how TV makes it look.

183
What I Learned From My First Internship
Pexels

Majority of college students take on an internship at some point in their college years. I'm currently a junior, and just completed my first serious internship. It was very different from what I had expected it to be, based on both personal ideas and the stereotypes you often hear of what internships are like, such as the dreaded coffee runs. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, though, and I gained a lot from my internship. So from me to you, here are 10 tips to help prepare future interns for what to realistically expect going in.

1. You NEED to dress appropriately.

I cannot stress this one enough. It's not enough to show up to your interview dressed appropriately; you have to show up every day dressed according to the environment. You may think the clothing you already own is appropriate, but chances are it's really not. Either when you're interviewing or first preparing to start, one of your first questions should be, "What's the dress code?" You don't want to show up under-dressed (or overdressed), and thus look and feel out of place. You may not be an official employee, but it doesn't hurt to dress like one--and it'll certainly help you avoid any awkward discussions about how you dress (think Liz Lemon in "30 Rock" trying to talk to Cerie). Even if the internship location is super casual, make sure you put in a little effort to show you take your position seriously.

2. You're not actually going to be sent on coffee runs.

I have never once been sent on a coffee run. While some internships probably will have their interns do something like this, it's really not something on the intern's job list. In my case, our building has several coffee stations, and everyone gets their own coffee. So ignore this movie/TV stereotype.

3. You'll usually be given smaller or grunt work...

This doesn't necessarily mean filing or organizing things, although it certainly can. Grunt work could be pulling data for Excel sheets, transcribing interviews, etc., depending on the workplace you're in. Just remember, these jobs may not seem important to you, but these little jobs mean the world to your coworkers. It enables them to get their work done faster and keep the workplace running smoothly.

4. ...Which means you may not learn as much about the field as you wanted.

When I began my internship, I expected to be walking out having gotten a true feel for the marketing world. I thought I'd be getting real projects or assignments almost regularly, in addition to the typical grunt work. And now that I'm done, I don't quite feel like I have the knowledge I expected to have. Because I was the intern, I really didn't get assigned the work I thought I'd be given. While I got to assist with a few projects and get a feel of what falls under a marketing department's responsibilities, I'm still pretty vague on specifics. I couldn't even tell you who in the department did exactly what, despite working closely with a few of the employees.

5. You're going to know certain employees more than others.

Like I said, you're going to be given a lot of grunt work. These assignments will come from various people within the workplace, and therefore, you'll end up knowing certain employees more than others. For example, I had four people out of a 13-people department that actually gave me work to do, and so I spoke more with them.

6. You're going to learn a lot about being in a workplace.

Be it from personal experiences or hearing others around you talk about their experiences, you're going to get a feel for what it's like to work in an office (assuming your internship is located within one). You'll learn about office dynamics, how to properly behave towards other (and older) coworkers, how to dress, and how to efficiently get your work done.

7. Watch how you speak.

This nugget comes from my internship adviser, who was told this when she was in college. Remember that you are the intern, not an official employee. You will most likely be younger than your coworkers, who will have been in the workplace for longer than you. Unless it's relevant to the workplace's focus or the work being done, it's best not to get into discussions of politics, religion, personal beliefs, etc. Yes, I understand how that comes off, but it's not advised to hold such heavy conversations within the workplace (again, unless it pertains to the workplace). Also, sometimes it's better to listen than to jump in. And above all, DO NOT CURSE. You may hear your coworkers do it, but they're older and officially work there. You're the younger intern and not in a cemented position.

8. There will be days where you have nothing to do.

Unfortunately, this happened to me a lot. There would be periods where I was given quite a few things to do, followed by many days where I thought I'd lose my mind for having nothing to do. I would often end up doing my personal work to fill the time. I recommend having a backup plan of things you can do to kill time (that don't involve being on your phone) until someone gives you a project.

9. Keep track of the work you do.

This one comes from my dad, who's a recruiter. It really helps to keep track of the projects you work on, both big and small, to put on your resume. Having this list will not only allow you to keep note of what you learned to do, but also provides future employers a list of your capabilities and experience. For example, I helped in researching and rewriting content for the website of an agency we did marketing for, and in gathering data for a monthly email communications report. You can bet that'll be on my resume.

10. Make the most of your time.

Most college internships only last for one semester, or two if you're lucky enough to be kept on. The time you spend at your internship is critical to your future, so make the most of your time there. Soak up what knowledge and experience you can, make those connections, and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

What Your Car's Color Says About Your Personality

Your color choice speaks volumes. It doesn't just emit an image for the car, it also says something about your style and personality! It's a form of self-expression. Are you confident? Are you sophisticated? Are you easy-going? Are you outgoing? Are you practical? As you're reviewing car sites for your next car purchase, what color will you opt for? Find out what certain color choices says about you!

134511

When it comes to car shopping you likely have certain preferences, including what color it should be. Your color choice speaks volumes. It doesn't just emit an image for the car, it also says something about your style and personality! It's a form of self-expression. Are you confident? Are you sophisticated? Are you easy-going? Are you outgoing? Are you practical? As you're reviewing car sites for your next car purchase, what color will you opt for? Find out what certain color choices says about you!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

30 Songs On My Back-To-School Playlist For Walks To And From Class

Headed back to in-person classes means you need a pretty banging playlist to power you through those walks to class.

108999
Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels

I don't know about you, but I start each day off with a one-mile walk to class. I have to have good tunes flowing through my ears during those 20 minutes, not to mention the walks between classes and the walks home. So, here is my 30 song playlist to get me through this almost unfamiliar concept we call walking to class.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Be Kind to Yourself: 8 Mental Health Tips to Try

One way you can improve your quality of life is to take care of your mental health. As a result, you'll feel less depressed and be able to enjoy spending time with friends and family more often. These mental health tips might be just what you need to forget about your problems.

62392

One way you can improve your quality of life is to take care of your mental health. As a result, you'll feel less depressed and be able to enjoy spending time with friends and family more often. These mental health tips might be just what you need to forget about your problems.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Should You Own An SUV If You Live In A Snowy state?

There are many reasons to own an SUV. If you live in a cold state or a rural area, you will see that owning an SUV is very important.

53171

The gas and oil prices are too high to run in a smaller vehicle. You are better off with an SUV for hauling cargo and driving larger loads around the town. In addition, owning an SUV is more comfortable and safe than driving a smaller vehicle.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Understanding Why Dog's Lick You

It is a natural instinct for dogs to lick

60267

Why do dogs lick?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments