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Career > Work

My First Big-Girl Internship

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

This past summer, I completed my first internship. It was four months long and I worked twenty-five hours a week, I had my ups and downs for sure. I feel that I’ve learned a lot these past few months, but I’ve compiled a list for things to look out for when you start your first big-girl internship.

Firstly, I applied for an Editing Intern position at a small bloggy-type website (that will remain unnamed). I applied back in April and while this was not the first internship I applied to; it was the first one that offered me a position. I took it immediately, even though it began on May 1st and I would still be in classes, and even though it required so many hours, because I was afraid that nothing else would come along. This internship took up so much of my summer and had me trapped in a lot of sleepless nights, but I’m glad I did it. So, with that background information, here are my tips for your first big-girl internship.

· Be aware of what the internship consists of. Ask about the hours, what will be expected of you, get that outlined in a clear way so that you and the other party are both on the same page about expectations.

· Do research on the company first. I didn’t realize that my work (the articles I wrote for the website) wouldn’t have my name on them when they were published on the company’s website. This upset me, but when looking at the articles posted, none of them have names, I didn’t pay close enough attention when doing my own research.

· Open lines of communication if your superior doesn’t. My internship ran from May 1st to September 1st and I never spoke with my boss. We communicated over email and Google Chat, but that’s it. She never offered me any formal feedback or arranged a ZOOM meeting or even a phone call. I feel that I would have gotten way more out of my internship if these things had happened.

· Speak up. I was really nervous at the beginning of my internship about asking my boss for anything. The first week of my internship, I didn’t meet the deadline she set for me. She asked too much of me and I didn’t have enough time to finish, I explained this to her, and she allowed me to finish it up at a later date.

· Set boundaries. There were a few times when my boss asked me to work outside of my set work hours to meet the criteria she set for me, but I explained that as I was not being compensated at all, I could not do that. I am incredibly proud of

myself for doing this. This was an unpaid internship, and I did not make a habit of working more hours than what was required of me because of the boundaries that I set.

· Ask questions. If you are ever not sure about something, ask. In the real world, this can be a scary thing to do, but if you are serious about doing your very best work, you need to feel comfortable saying that you need help or guidance, at least every once in a while.

At the end of the day, I’m happy that I did my internship. I learned a lot about my own writing and working style and got to practice editing countless articles. It was a really formative experience for me. But if I were to do it again, I would do a few things differently. I hope that you guys can learn from my advice, and I hope that your first big-girl internship is everything you hope it’ll be.

Shannon Parker

Scranton '24

Hi! I am a senior English major, I love reading, writing, playing with my dog, and hanging out with my friends and sister:) I am also one of the CCs of HC Scranton!!