Your cap and gown are accumulating dust in your closet as the college memories fade. The fact that you now have to live in the real world as a contributing member of society is slowly, but surely, sinking in. Some of your friends have started their full-time jobs and moved away but you…you’re stuck in limbo, the gray area of having a “collegesque” internship and not having a “real job” after graduation.
Yeah, it’s not fun being the underpaid, overworked, all-encompassing intern after working for four (or maybe more) years to get your degree, especially when it seems like everyone else is going off and doing great things with their lives. Hang in there, I’m right there with you!
Internships after college, or sometimes known as “externships”, are becoming more and more prevalent, especially because of the competitiveness of landing entry-level jobs. Whether it’s the less-than-stellar per week stipend or being the lowly office errand runner, these five tips will help you get the most out of your post-grad internship.
Be happy you still have somewhat of a job.
Well, I should rephrase that. Be happy you graduated and still have somewhat of a job! Graduating college is a huge deal, so congratulations are in order. Internships are still hard work, and sometimes it seems like interns do more work than their co-workers or superiors. Be proud that you are working hard to achieve your dreams no matter what job you have. In my opinion, interns are what make the world go round.
Remember — this is only temporary.
Take your internship day by day. This may not be the ideal situation now, but good things come to those who wait. Even if you don’t necessarily love your internship, pushed through the summer and view it as a learning experience. A good takeaway from this kind of internship is the realization that you don’t work to work in that field or sector, something you may not have known otherwise. This post-grad internship experience will help you see if this is really what you want to do as a lifelong career.
Think about your experience as a potential job opportunity.
It’s common for employers to hire interns full-time after completing their program. Employers view internships as a way to train and screen potential new hires. “Just before the internship ends, you should sit down with your supervisor and ask about the possibility of full-time employment.” said Peter Vogt, a MonsterTrak Career Coach. “If there isn’t an opportunity available, be sure to keep in touch with your contact in the company.”
Change your thought process.
As with most things in life, what you put into your externship is what you’ll get out of it. Instead of viewing your time at your externship as a negative experience, think about it positively. You’d be surprised at the power of positive thinking. If you expect only favorable outcomes, your circumstances will change accordingly. If you persist, you will transform the way your mind thinks. Doing small things like smiling more and eliminating negative self-talk will reduce stress and lead to an overall healthier life.
Pick up a hobby in your free time.
Sometimes the only thing that keeps me sane at my internship is thinking about what I’m going to do after work. Pick up something you love to do, whether it’s exercising, photography or a side business. I’m a firm believer in the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Doing something you love before or after work will make the between time you spend at your internship easier.
No matter what your situation is, remember it’s never too late to obtain experience in your field!
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