As a student at a very competitive university, it is pretty much expected that I have some sort of internship or life-changing experience planned for my summers -- this includes the summer after freshman year. After my first year at the University of Pennsylvania, I decided not to look for an internship in a big city or to study in a foreign country during my summer. Instead, I decided to find an internship close to my home in Maine. As challenging as it was to find an internship near home that I was interested in, I finally did find one to apply for. Now, I am an Innovate for Maine fellow working with various Maine companies doing market research, business model development, social media optimization, and a host of other things. I have learned a lot from this internship already, and I thought I would share a few of those things here.
I always used to make fun of my parents for going to bed early during the week. It was easy to do this when I was in high school, and even in college where I can pick my class schedule. Now that I am working 40 hours a week I find myself needing naps in the middle of the day more than ever, and by 9 p.m. I am more than ready to hit the hay.
If there is one thing I hate about classes in school it is group work. Especially in high school, I would be the one stuck doing most of the work, and so any group project I was assigned was torture. I have found that when it comes to working in the real world, though, having a team to work with you is not only a good thing -- it is essential. This kind of group work is nothing like it is in school. In my own experience this summer, I have seen that it would be quite difficult to make it through my internship without the helpful contributions of my coworkers.
I am one of the fortunate few to have a paid full-time internship, and as a college student who has to spend a ridiculous amount of money for tuition, books, and well -- life, any money that I make from this internship is greatly appreciated.
I have learned so much during my internship already. I am not actually studying business at school, and so having this real-world business experience is adding a lot to my educational experience. I am expanding my interests and learning what things I do and do not enjoy doing.
5. I can handle going outside my comfort zone.
Since this was my first internship, I did not really know what to expect from it. There were some things that I had to teach myself at the beginning for sure, but I believe I am handling everything pretty well and it has been nice to show myself that I really can do whatever I put my mind to.