During my last semester of college I had to complete 600 hours worth of internship at a facility working with individuals with some sort of disability. 600 hours in 14 weeks. Yup, thats over 40 hours a week. I chose to intern at a behavioral center, an ABA therapy clinic for children with Autism. This internship was an unpaid full time job and I worked my butt off to keep up with getting my hours, completing other coursework, and working an actual paying job. But I would not trade this experience for anything. I learned so much useful knowledge and gained some wonderful mentors and friends. I also landed a job at the same clinic a week before graduating with my Bachelors in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. I gained some wonderful insight into the experience of internship and I want to share it with future interns so here are 10 things I found to be important through my internship experience.
1. Always do more than what is expected.
From being more knowledgeable than expected by doing your own research of the company and of the actual job beforehand, to doing the little stuff like making copies, organizing, and washing up the dishes in the community kitchen.
2. Be on time.
Interns are often evaluated on their future employability. Arriving on time/ early with a fresh and ready to go attitude will go a long way in winning over the employers.
3. Ask so many questions.
Don't be embarrassed to ask. You are there to learn and the more engaged you are the better. Ask questions, take notes, and apply the knowledge.
4. Be teachable.
Always be receptive to feedback and take it not only with a listening ear and a smile but with the determination to put the suggestions into action.
5. Be a good coworker.
You may not technically be employed yet but you are still working a long side people that are. Be friendly, be supportive, be helpful, and take note of any suggestions they have to offer that will help better you in the field.
6. Be prepared.
Research the job beforehand. Dress according to the company policy. Know names of important people. Be familiar with the company mission statement.
7. Speak clearly and thoughtfully.
Communication really is key. Showing that you can communicate effectively is very important.
8. Brush up on your technology skills.
With technology ever rapidly advancing, it is beneficial to be on top of your game when it comes to working a computer program or coming up with a creative way to use technology.
9. Collaborate with others.
When working through problems, collaborate with others. Talk the problem out and use everyones input to come up with a solution. Each person typically has a unique point of view.
10. Enjoy it.
Take time to enjoy this learning experience before being thrown into the real working world.