Five weeks in.
It is unbelievable to think how quickly time has flown when I stop and think about it. Five weeks ago, I started my ten week internship. I proudly hold the title of social media and marketing intern and I couldn’t be more ecstatic.
In any internship, the first day is always the hardest, simply for the fact that you have no idea what to expect. On that bright and sunny Monday morning, I was anxious, excited, nervous, ready. So many emotions overwhelmed my mind that when I walked through the doors for the first time, it was time.
It was time to do what I knew I could do. I was focused and determined to start working, eager to soak up everything I could, and ready to begin this long-awaited chapter in my public relations career.
Now, five weeks later, I’m half way there. With only five weeks under my belt, it’s been the greatest five weeks. What a beginning! I’ve learned a lot and still have so much more to learn. Every day, it becomes increasingly evident that relying solely on textbooks and exams will not help you in the “real world.” Being A Great Intern 101 is not offered in the course catalog; it is with experience that you develop and enhance the skills necessary to succeed.
In only 25 days, I’ve learned many lessons through my own experience and observing others. I’ll spare you from all of that and instead give you…
The Top Five Things You Won’t Learn
In A Classroom:
1. Come early, stay late– It’s easy to want to leave the office as soon as your hours are up for the day. 40 hours a week is a lot of time to be in the office and as an intern, it can be a challenge not to count down the minutes until closing time. One of my mentors once told me, “To be a great intern, you have to go early and stay late. Do whatever you can do in the hours you are given, but go above and beyond when they don’t expect it.” Best advice ever. Going above and beyond is a skill that can’t be taught in a class room; it’s adapted through work ethic and determination. Come early, stay late– do whatever you can to go above and beyond the expected 8 hours a day. This doesn’t mean arriving two hours early and staying until midnight– even if it’s 15 minutes earlier and 20 minutes later, the drive is evident. People will notice, but more importantly, you give your 110%.
2. The interview doesn’t end when you get the job— Once you are hired, that’s not the end of it. Every day, I walk into the office with the goal of showing them that they made the right decision to hire me. I said the right things in the interview, but actions speak louder then words. Actions provide the backbone to the investment they made. Go above and beyond, ask questions, work hard, be proactive, show up on time– the works. It’s easy to want to let your guard down after a few days on the job, but their investment in you is just as important as your investment in them.
3. Keep your notebook with you 24/7— I write everything down. I’m a writer; I have to see my tasks on paper and check them off. I learn through visuals and remember ideas better when I see them physically written down. Walking around the office with a notebook helps me remember the little things. When I meet with my boss, I write down what he says. I write down daily to-do lists and week-long goals. I write down my ideas so I don’t forget them and also important reminders from emails and meetings. If you are a visual person, keep a notebook with you. It helps more than you think.
4. Walk around— Don’t be that intern who sits at his/her desk all day. Walk around; get to know people. I struggle with finding the perfect combination to receive a healthy balance, so I discovered a solution. Drink water from a water bottle. When I finish the water bottle, I go to get more water (duh) and on the way to the water cooler, I stop to say hi to whomever I pass. It helps! This little walk gives me a break from sitting in front of a computer, keeps me hydrated, and allows me to meet my fellow coworkers.
5. Conquer a fear– It could be anything from learning to write a professional email to stepping out of your comfort zone. For me, as ironic as this sounds, it was getting over my fear of talking on the phone. As a communications and public relations major, this should come second nature to me. But, I’ve always been a little self-conscious about calling people to ask for information or following up on a task. I’ve conquered it through past internships and during this one, I’ve conquered it some more. It gets easier and easier every day and for this, I’m glad. It wasn’t necessarily a fear, but it’s been a slight out-of-my-comfort-zone task that I’ve had to face time and time again. Big or small, a “fear” can hold you back from your fullest potential. Take the time as an intern to really try and overcome it. Don’t limit your capacity for success.
Five weeks down. Five more to go. At the half way point, I’ve learned way more than these five important tips. So far, I’ve not only strengthened my resume and learned a lot about the company, but I’ve also developed as an intern and a public relations professional. What are tips you’ve learned through your internship experiences? Comment below!
Let’s connect on Twitter: @KeriBetters