A Guide to Surviving Your First Internship

When you have your first internship, it can be overwhelming and stressful. You don’t know what to expect. You might be wondering 'what do I wear on my first day? What will I be doing? Who do I go to if I have questions?' Take a deep breath and relax, because it’ll all work out. Here are some tips to help you on your first day:

  1. 1. Dress on the professional side.

    Each internship is different. While some places might have a strict professional dress code, others might have a very casual one. I always err on the side of caution and dress professionally the first day unless told otherwise. Once you start you’ll get a feel for what people normally wear to the office. After the first day, you can alter your style going forward. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

  2. 2. The first day is all about learning.

    Most places will be understanding when you start. They know you're nervous. Often, you won’t dive in headfirst into a huge project. Instead, they will have you dip your toe in the water slowly and you’ll learn more along the way. You will spend a lot of time just getting oriented around the office. This might mean being introduced to the employees, the office layout, and some of the daily responsibilities you will have during your internship. Remember: an internship is a learning process.

  3. 3. If there are other interns, get to know them!

    I became very close with several of the other interns I worked with at my first internship. Exchange contact information with them or ask them to hang out outside of your internship! Becoming close with the other interns or even using them as another resource around the office can be very helpful!

  4. 4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

    I asked so many questions at my first internship. If you don’t understand a task just ask! It’s better to clarify rather than mess up! The people at your internship want to help you learn. If you are curious about something, talk to someone. Generally, people in the office will be happy to answer your questions. It also shows that you care and are genuinely interested in learning more about the organization or company.

  5. 5. Get involved.

    Be as involved as you possibly can with your organization. Your coworkers will appreciate how much you care. If your office invites you to events or meetings, attend all of them! If they give you an opportunity to show face or do something unique, do it! Your enthusiasm will only help you in the long run.

While first internships can be extremely overwhelming, knowing these tips will help you on your first day. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude throughout the entire experience and I’m sure it will go smoothly!


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