Monday, 13 March 2017

10 Tips to Survive an Internship

At the moment I’m half way trough my internship. And here is what I learned so far.

1. Don’t be late. And make sure that if you are late, that you can call someone to tell them that you’re late. It’s not bad when it’s five minutes, I mean, we all have traffic troubles... But when you slept through your alarm, be brave, call them and explain what happened, that you are on your way right now and that you are later than usual. Don’t do this too often…

2. Be prepared. This sounds like I’m captain obvious. But being prepared is much more than having a pen and paper with you and have watched the programm or read the paper or whatever you can do to prepare. I mean with this one: know what you want to learn, prepare for that question. I wasn’t prepared for the question what I specifically wanted to learn and at that moment I felt pretty stupid and we couldn’t really get stared.

3. Do not procrastinate work out of fear. No matter how shy you are. Just do it. Call that person, just pick up the phone and do it. Go to the desk of colleagues and ask for the you need.. The longer you procrastinate what you should be doing, the more you get delayed in your process and it will look like you don’t want to work for the company it gives a bad impression. It’s hard, I know.

4. Dare to make mistakes. I’m very frightened of this one. I swear, I’m afraid to fail. I’m afraid I do something wrong and ruin the working process. But this is the exact reason why you are there. You are having this internship so you can learn. And learning is a process of trail and error. Try not to make the same mistake twice. But it’s very logical that you do things wrong the first time you do it. So don’t be scared. Do it, learn from it and do it better.

5. Be honest. This is very important. If you’re not being honest about how you're doing, about how things are going then how are they going to know that you are having a hard time or that you can’t figure something out by yourself? Tell them. I haven’t always been very honest and then you feel pretty stupid when you do something wrong, while you could ask and do it better without failing.  I mean, is it that hard to ask for help when you must do something you’ve never done? I don’t think so… but you’re mind is a trickster. Just ask and they are willing to help. Just be honest about what you know and don’t know.

6. Don’t wait untill work comes to you. In my first internship last year, after I asked for more work a few times and when I heard that there was not much to do I stopped asking. And the result of that was that I didn’t do enough work according to them. I wasn’t asking enough for more work. So I got it in my own face again and got myself in trouble because I stopped asking for some other work to do when I was done.

7. Know that this is going to be a hard time. Going from school suddenly into the adult life of fulltime working is hard. Especially since you are still learning and they expect from you to know everything. First of all, tell them as soon as you notice that they think you know everything. Because that is not true. You are a student and you are there to learn. But it’s just hard. For some people it is harder to adjust than others and not every internship is awesome. So it’s okay to have a hard time, to cry (do it at home, I cried in front of 4! People, I was embarressed) But it’s not always going to be easy. You are going to be dead tired at the end of the day, you are going to feel like you can’t do this when your half way through and everything is so overwhelming. But in the end you'll learn so much that it's totally worth it.

8. Don’t let them make a slave of you. You’re here to learn and work. Not work like a maniac and still let them treat you like you’re nothing. And expecially: you’re not the coffee (wo)men. It is okay to get them some coffee once in while. That's just being friendly to your colleagues. But when it’s part of your job, doing the coffee every hour, then something is terribly wrong with the place you are having your internship at. Tell this to your coordinator. Say something like: I feel like I can’t reach the goals we’ve set for this internship. Could you help me with reaching my goals? If that doesn’t work, tell your teacher that you learn more about the different coffee machines on different floors in the company than that you learn about company. The teacher will reach out and help.

9. Never introduce yourself as an intern. Only when it is necessary to say, say you’re an intern. But otherwise. You are an employee and you work for that company. You are fully capable of functioning on your own. People always think lower of interns. Don’t lie about it. But don’t make yourself look less worthy while you are working just as hard as any other employee there.

10. Make sure to plan a progress talk every week while you're at your internship. A little talk every week keeps you and your internship coordinator up to date about your work, what is hard for you, what you should work on. It makes things clear for you and your coordinator and so you can't have any miscommunication. And if there is, it can be solved quickly. If you don't talk once in two weeks there is change that you or him/her have a misunderstanding which can cause a big problem for you to bring your internship to a good end.

Extra: Bring cake. At the moment cake is very important at my internship here. For fun it’s a rule that interns bring cake on their first day. So I baked cupcakes and brought them here. And in a few weeks it’s my birthday so I’ll bring cake again. Last year, every intern that left had to bring cake. So if you want to make a good first of good last impression. Bring cake ;)
> only when you know it is their kind of humor. Other wise they’ll think that you are trying to trick them into liking you for bringing cake and getting a better grade when you leave. So watch out for miscommunication!

I hoped this helped you! And if you have more tips for going surviving an internship than let me know in the comments below.

Xx Rianne
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