Make sure the office isn’t the only sight you see in your new city. Go explore!
An internship can be a scary thing. At first you’re excited — you pick your outfit and nonchalantly tell your friends sorry, I can’t go out tonight, I start my internship tomorrow. You’re excited and nervous, like it’s your first day of the rest of your career. I’ve had four internships since sophomore year and that feeling still never fades whether it was part-time or full-time.
My most recent full-time, nine-to-five stint at Mashable before becoming a correspondent here, was the best yet. The same nerve-wracking feeling came and stayed through my four months there this past semester. Constant thoughts of self-doubt, inadequacy and fear continued to get to me and I started to slip and forget what an internship is about.
You’re not supposed to know everything — you’re there to learn and to grow as a writer, journalist or whatever profession you’re pursuing. Below is a list of ways to maximize your internship experience, no matter what kind it may be.
• Ask the questions you’re afraid to ask.
This is the only time I can ever argue for asking for permission rather than asking for forgiveness. It’s best to nag than to be the intern who’s always apologizing for failing to pay attention. The only time I’ve ever been called stupid for asking a question was by someone at CNN — needless to say I don’t read or watch them anymore.
• Work outside the office.
If it’s a full-time internship, don’t get stuck in the nine-to-five daily grind. Work past 6 p.m. and even freelance for another publication or do volunteer work that is in line with the career you want. Your internship will offer you plenty of experience. But the more experience you gain outside the office, the more you can grow in your main internship.
• Explore the city/surrounding area.
Offices are boring, no matter how many dogs are running around or how many Nerf gun fights take place throughout the day. If you’re fortunate enough to relocate for a semester-long internship, explore the city or town — take it all in. You’ll in turn become a part of the area you’re in and not some passive, innocuous observer.
• Keep a journal.
You’ll have a lot of experiences along with great advice to bring back to your classroom or to the next internship. Write it down. If you have trouble keeping detailed journals, a word of advice: Write bullet points that act as springboards to things, people, events or advice you wish to remember.
• Don’t forget to have fun.
It’s easy to get caught up in a routine — work, study, homework, internship — or any vicious cycle of the same nature. Keep it fresh and have fun. We’re only young for so long.
Paid or unpaid, 10 hours a week or 40, states away or just down the street, an internship is a time to bolster your resume, have fun and learning unfathomable skills you’ll use for the rest of your life. Seize the opportunity and throw yourself into it — you’ll be happy that you did.
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