Pursuing an internship during college is an exciting experience that puts students that much closer to their dream career. However, such an opportunity isn’t without its drawbacks. Some interns may feel insecure, shy or unsure of themselves in an environment surrounded by working professionals.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to feel right at home during an internship while gaining the skills and connections needed to benefit a student in the long run. With time and a little know-how, any intern can give their all and benefit from a rewarding overall experience.
Don’t Be Afraid of Being the Newbie
Regardless of what type of internship you’re participating in, it’s highly likely that the employees you’ll be working alongside have been where you are at one time or another in their lives. The people you’ll be interacting with during the course of your internship are there for the purpose of helping you so don’t be intimidated.
The first few days/weeks will take some getting used to but it won’t take long for you to find your comfort zone when it comes to meeting and working with various professionals.
Showing an outgoing personality and an eagerness to learn is the attitude that will automatically draw people to you and cause them to go out of their way to make sure you’re on track and up to speed on things.
Know Who to Ask for Help & When
Interns aren’t expected to know all the answers–that’s what being an intern is all about, after all. There are going to be times when you’ll have no clue what’s going on or when you’ll freeze like a deer in headlights. Instead of going into panic mode, it’s important that early on in the internship you learn how the chain of command operates.
Find out who the right people are that you can ask for help from and make sure you know the right way to approach them. This will be determined by the type of internship you’re in. For example, business internships take place in office settings, which usually provide easy access to many people that can answer basic questions and concerns. However, more interactive internships like those in the television and radio production field, may require a bit of navigating to find out who is in charge and who makes important decisions.
When it comes to asking for help, choose the right method. Some professionals have no problem with letting an intern know that they can drop by the office anytime if they need something, while others would rather have you send them an email.
Don’t Act Like You Own the Place
Feel so comfortable at your internship that it’s like your second home? That’s great but stay humble and remember your place in the food chain. Even if you’re the star intern, nothing is more unflattering than buying into your own hype. The way you handle praise, accomplishments and feedback will play a huge role in how you’ll be perceived in the workplace.