How to Intern | Intern Diaries #3

Last Friday my Indianapolis Monthly internship came to an end. It was an amazing experience getting to work there! I'm also glad my other internship with Eco Partners is still hanging on for a few more days. The past three summers there have prepared me for the "real world" more than anything else (and my boss is really cool- hi Elizabeth!).

But being an intern can be a scary, terrifying thing if you don't know what you're getting into. It helps to have some advice going in so that coming out you feel like an expert on all things learning and working for free.

For all you interns out there, here are five tips for having an awesome internship:

How to Intern: Top 5 Tips
  1. Ask questions. I'm someone who won't start a task until I know exactly what's expected of me and what I need to accomplish it. While that can be a little extreme, don't feel like you can't ask your supervisor how to do something. She/he wants to help!
  2. Don't be afraid of "why." "Why does the company do this?" "Why does Sally look at this?" "Why are we doing this?" When phrased correctly, asking "why" only shows that you're curious about the company and what they do. You're here to learn. Asking why is the best way to do that!
  3. Get outside the office. No matter where you intern, there's more to it than sitting at a desk all day. Go out to lunch with fellow interns. Explore the nearby businesses and events. Ask to attend a conference or photo shoot. Take a staff member you want to talk to more out to coffee. These experiences can become the most valuable of your internship!
  4. Take initiative. This is the hardest one for me: asking for something I want. At my internships, it was fairly simply to ask for a certain task. Both offered me countless opportunities. But even if that's not the case for you, don't be afraid of asking if you can take something on. Even if the answer is no, they'll be impressed that you weren't afraid to ask and they might turn to you when a project you can help with comes up.
  5. And finally, breathe. This is an internship, and while it's important to take it serious and make a good impression, it is not a job. It's okay if you slip up once or twice or if you're totally lost on a project. You're still a student first, and no one expects you to be perfect. Just do your best and work hard and people will take notice.

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:

Any of you have internships this fall or just completed summer ones? What are your internship tips?