How To Make the Most of Your Internship


College is, in many ways, the beginning of the rest of your life. This is partially because of how many lifelong friends you'll make and how much you'll learn, but a large part of it is because this is where your career starts as well. Whatever your dream career entails, this is where the first steps towards it will be made. Exciting, right?

For most of us, that first step towards the job we want and can't wait to have is the summer internship. If you're wondering how to make sure you take full advantage of the two or three months that you snag your first internship for, search no further.


  • Begin your search early.

A lot of internships begin their application process earlier than you'd think. If you've got your eye on a specific internship, be sure to track its deadlines. Waiting too long to pounce on it may lose you the opportunity if the company only takes a certain number of interns every summer. It will also give you peace of mind to already have the lose ends tied up as soon as possible- nothing is worse than trying to take care of last-minute internship paperwork in the midst of finals.

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  • Seek variety.

Once you've secured an internship, you'll likely be asked which area you'd like to spend the majority of your time in (for example, if you'll be interning at a local news station, you'll be choosing a focus on producing, newswriting or reporting). Although you probably have a specific interest that you want to spend the summer focusing on, try your best to dip your feet into a little bit of everything. Don't neglect what you're primarily there to do, but it's important to step outside your comfort zone and try your hand at more than one area- if your main focus is writing, make it a point to check out what reporting is all about, and vice versa! Who knows what you could end up really liking?

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  • Always ask for feedback.

It might seem intimidating, but when you're asked to do something, don't let it be over once you've completed your task. Ask your supervisor about how you did, how you're doing, what you could improve. The point of an internship is to prepare you for your future career as you gain the skills you'll need, and the more feedback you receive, the easier it will be to hone those skills as the summer goes on.

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  • Watch and learn.

Let's face it- not every internship you have will be jam-packed with activities or responsibilities. There might be days where you find yourself wishing you had been given something to do. Use this time to observe what's going on around you at work. Take a peek at what the people around you are doing and what makes the office tick. You can learn a lot this way about what you want in a future work environment…and what you DON'T want.

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  • Connect with your peers.

The odds are pretty high that you won't be the only college intern around. Get to know your fellow interns! These are the types of people you'll be working alongside when you graduate. It's never a bad idea to find out what's coming, and of course, it's always great to make new friends!

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  • Get to know the company's employees.

Look around at the people who are working alongside you, who are teaching you the ropes. You're looking at quite possibly the person YOU'LL be in a few years, so you should learn about what future you looks like! Even if you don't see yourself doing their jobs someday, or you're still deciding what you want your future career to look like, your coworkers now could very well be your references later. Take the time to get to know them- not just as your supervisors, but as people.

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  • Keep your confidence.

It sounds easier said than done, but that over-the-moon feeling you got when you first found out you'd scored your internship, that feeling that you could do anything? Hang onto it. Even when you feel overwhelmed in your workplace, remember that you belong there. You were chosen for a reason, and this is your opportunity to prove it. Keep your head up, and the rest will follow.