Internships aren’t just a great way to learn about your potential career and get some real world experience; they can also have huge benefits in terms of networking. The people you’re getting coffee for now might someday be your bosses and colleagues, so it’s important to make a good impression while you can.
The first and most obvious way to do that is to be on time every day. If you’re the kind of person who’s always running late, make a conscious effort to get ready early and set hours that you know you’ll be able to keep. And when the metro breaks down or your class runs over or whatever else, call the office and let them know that exactly how late you’ll be. Calling in advance proves that you’re not being irresponsible or making up excuses.
The way you look is also an extension of how responsible you are. The fact that your best “going out” outfit involves a blazer does not make it okay to wear it to the office. There’s a fine line between classy and trashy when it comes to professional clothing, and you have to make sure you’re not walking it in five inch heels. That said, don’t sacrifice your personal style. As long as your skirts would be long enough for your high school dress code and you can walk in your shoes, you’ll probably be fine (and just to be sure, class everything up with some pearls).
Be positive! No one likes a downer, especially if you’re answering phones all day. No matter what happens stay upbeat and polite, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s so much better to be a little annoying and get the work done quickly than to disappear into a project for a day and accomplish absolutely nothing.
Most importantly, be smart. Don’t say anything inappropriate or rude, even if it seems really funny at the time. Make sure they remember you as the intern who took initiative, not the intern who scrolled through Instagram for five hours twice a week. If you have to cry (and at some point you probably will), find a bathroom, call your go-to parent, sibling, or friend, and talk it out for ten minutes. Then go back ready to work.
Interning can be scary, but if you stay calm and work hard you can accomplish a lot. Try not to let all the awkward phone conversations and messed-up faxes get you down. They hired you for a reason, and if you put your best effort into the experience you will get so much out of it.