Everyone knows that with every year of college that passes, the impending doom of the real world gets closer, and more decisions have to be made to plan for the future. One of the most important decisions for a college Sophomore/Junior is getting an internship. The process of searching for, applying for and having your first internship comes with a lot of real world reality checks - some of them feeling weirder than others. After being halfway through my first internship, I thought that I could share some of those firsts that every college student experiences during their first internship.
1. Going to team meetings
For some reason, at the first team meeting that I was invited to, I couldn't shake the feeling of being a toddler and getting to sit at the "adult table" for the first time. Being an intern means always being the youngest and least experienced person at the table. This is one "first" that is going to take the most getting used to.
2. Getting the wardrobe
The moment I realized that I had exactly one business casual outfit to wear to my interview was the same moment I realized that I desperately needed to do some shopping. Every college student preparing for their first internship knows the feeling of having to spend their first Summer paycheck on pant suits, blazers and nice shoes. A drastic change from the usual shorts, leggings and t-shirts that we wear to class.
3. Faking it 'til ya make it
With your first internship comes a lot of expectations and a lot of lessons to learn. On more than one occasion I have had to nod and pretend I understand, only to turn to google for much needed help later. Just like with the first year of college, you are having to figure a lot of things out on your own. Confidence and search engines: the two keys to success.
4. Learning other features on a printer besides just "print"
I have to admit, when the first person at my internship came up to me and asked if I knew how to scan or fax something, I was slightly ashamed to have to say no. Before this internship, I had never even considered any other function on a printer besides the "print" and "copy" buttons.
5. Being asked your opinion on things that are actually important
It felt somewhat strange the first time that I was sitting at the previously mentioned "adult table" and was asked if I had any thoughts about something that actually mattered. As college students, the most important things we are used to being asked are if we want our TA to hold a study session, or if we would rather take our final exam during dead week instead of finals week.
Having your first internship means sticking your foot into the door of actual adulthood, not the world of pretend adulthood that is college. For many people, this usually comes before they're completely ready to be there, and brings with it a lot of new feelings and experiences. So, welcome to the one-time experience of being adultish: somewhere between professional and clueless.