When I first received the call that I got my summer internship I was honestly shocked. The struggle for finding an internship was starting to weigh me down. I simply thought I was never going to get one and I would be working a normal, part-time job this summer.
Then, the call came and I was ecstatic. Not only was I going to be working for a company that I knew about, but I was going to be able to do something that I loved. I would be able to write and shockingly, get paid for it.
My internship lasted 12 weeks and only recently ended. Since then I have had time to reflect on my time at the company. I have had a handful of jobs before, but none of them I was genuinely sad to be leaving. I typically knew when my time was up and quit feeling ready or grateful to be done.
This summer internship absolutely flew by and I enjoyed every second of it. Yes, that includes the nearly two-hour commute I would make every day from home. That's because this internship gave me more than skills that applied to my interest. It gave me life skills that I will be able to take with me back to Santa Clara University and even beyond graduation. These are the 9 things I learned at my internship, even though there are plenty more.
1. Surround yourself with good people.
This lesson is probably one of the most important ones I learned. I was lucky enough to land an internship with a team that was all about good energy and building relationships.
Seeing how my team interacted in comparison to my friends at other internships and jobs this summer has made me extremely thankful. I know that I lucked out and could have gotten on a team with people I don't get along with. I know what meshing well with others looks like, and I hope to find that in whatever team activity or job I pursue in the future.
2. It's OK to laugh at work.
I've talked to many people this summer that always talked about how quiet their office was. People came into work, had the occasional small talk at lunch, and continued to work.
Whenever people said this to me I was confused. Whether it be from sending congratulatory gifs when my team succeeded in something or simply poking fun at one another, there was an abundant amount of laughter in the office. This not only helped to pass the time, but it made me genuinely enjoy coming to work each day.
3. Go out of your comfort zone!
I entered into the internship fairly reserved. I wasn't able to attend a lot of the intern events, but was so grateful I attended a group outing. We chose to go kayaking, and let me tell you, I am not adventurous. Despite my reservations, I decided to go and had an absolute blast.
Not only was it fun, but through the experience, I was able to grow increasingly closer to some coworkers. Trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone is something I've been working on, and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to do that this summer.
4. Never settle.
By saying never settle in the workplace, I mean never settle with a company or your actions at work. Whether it be a project you are currently working on, or even when you are searching for a job, don't settle.
Like said before, I thought I had no shot working for the company that offered me the internship. I didn't think little me could land a real internship. I think you should always strive for doing something bigger than you think you are capable full-time. Once you've got a job, strive to do your best on your work in the office.
5. Treat yourself.
From the free snacks to the food trucks, my workplace did not have a shortage of foods. People would bring in sweets and place them on the counter for everyone to eat. While I would normally be picking, I truly learned the meaning of "treat yo' self" this summer. Never say no to the free doughnuts or Pizza My Heart. You'll regret it.
6. Ask questions.
As I said before, I was pretty reserved coming into the internship. I didn't ask a ton of questions until I became more comfortable with my team. I think it's important to ask questions, whether it be something you're unsure about or something you just want to learn about.
I own up to the fact that I can barely work Excel. When I asked for help at work I was immediately given a brief lesson on it. It's moments like these that truly make an internship worthwhile.
7. Your coworkers can be your friends.
Contrary to popular belief, your coworkers can be your friends. Now, obviously that is said within reason, but I genuinely consider the people I worked with over summer to be my friends. Yes, they have full-time positions. Yes, I reported to them. However, I still considered them to be friends.
I found myself asking my coworkers for constant advice. Whether it be about what kind of restaurants are good in the area, or if I should switch my major or not, they always seemed to have the right thing to say.
This kind of help and friendliness can be hard to find in a workplace. So, it's good to seek that out when looking for a future job.
8. Use all the perks while you can!
This could not be truer. If you get discounts on products or even free food at work, use all of the perks while you can. I know I'm going to greatly miss getting free bottled tea and endless amounts of Chex Mix from a dispenser. Not only that, but discounts only last so long so use them when you are still able to.
9. Share life's joy.
The motto or slogan of the company I worked at is "Share Life's Joy". Coming into the office for my interview and immediately seeing that phrase painted on the wall stood out to me.
Seeing people having office baby showers, to celebrating someone on the team getting engaged, you can see how much joy is in the office. It's important to remember that in everything you do. Whether it be a job or activity on-campus, or working at a company, you should be able to share all of the amazing life milestones with those around you.
My internship was an amazing experience. It sounds cliché, but it's one that I would do again in a heartbeat. Finding a job that you truly care about is important, and I know that I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity that I did. Going forward, I need to remember to keep my standards high, to laugh with those I'm working with, and to always share life's joy.
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