How to Have a Meaningful and Fruitful Internship Experience

So you’re back from your summer internship or job and you’re mingling with friends before class starts and it seems like everyone besides you was able to network, land their future job early, or gain lifelong experiences that you just seemed to have missed. Despite having different duties they all managed to get the most out of their summer, you begin to wonder “how could this be”? Well, there might be some reasons this might’ve happened or you may feel this way – but there’s no need to feel overshadowed or dwell on it.

Shifting Perspectives

First of all, don’t fret, because it’s all a matter of perspective! You may have had a great overall experience, but feel overwhelmed by how others were doing in their fields or companies –  that it’s making you a bit uneasy. Don’t forget that some may sugar coat what actually happens, while others will be genuine about how it went. Ask yourself a few questions to reassure yourself: “Did I make valuable connections with my coworkers and/or supervisors?”, “Did I complete all the tasks at hand and serve as an asset to the company I worked for?”, “Did I gain hands-on experiences that would be applicable to future jobs or act as as transferable skills?”. If you answered “yes” to any of those questions after a bit of reflection then everything went well!

Under the scope of perspectives, you always want to go into your job with a positive mindset. Being positive or excited in turn creates a positive workspace. This ensures that the job or internship you are going to start is not only something that you are passionate about or generally interested in, but also aligns with your personal career goals. If it doesn’t capture your attention when you’re simply on the hunt for a job, then from the moment you begin you will have the reoccurring thought that you’re simply stuck at a 9PM-5PM job. This will lead you to come in and out and get into the monotony of working without allowing you to connect to others or value the work you’re doing.

Time-Management

Hence, take time in the job searching process so you don’t end up rushing or settling.  Pay close attention to if the position also allows for shadowing or time to sit-in on meetings so you feel more included or get a sense of what it would be like as full time staff. Also, be mindful that some internships may only be restricted to help in the summer and may tend to not branch out to a student; don’t take it personally. Weigh all your options, choose what’s best for you and what matches your career goals or even future dream job.

Get Personal + Ask Questions

Get Personal + Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to talk to your coworkers and supervisors on a more personal level! We are all human. Talk about food, hobbies, shows, plans, or goals. Whether they share the same interests as you or have years worth of advice, engage with them and become more comfortable. Not only does it make the work environment better, but others will look to you as not only an intern or employee – but someone they can rely on or talk to from time to time. You never know when they’ll offer a recommendation or serve as a reference or even have advice from their years of experience on the workforce.

If you’re generally a private or introverted person, then you can take another route; which might be ask thoughtful questions. When you ask questions, even if they’re work-related, it signals to others that you’re open to learning and growth overall. If you need help with a project or task, don’t be afraid to ask questions, not only does it add clarification to a certain task you might be assigned, but it allows you complete them with ease in the future.  You’ll also learn how to communicate with others better. If you happen to ask more in-depth questions then you’ll also be able to learn more about company culture, various views on how to handle issues that arise, and maybe how to move up in a company in the future, what qualities people are looking for in an employee.

There are endless opportunities for students to gain experience and acquire jobs in various fields or companies! Make the most out of your job or internship by being present, confident and making great first impressions.

By Linda Rivera
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