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Wisdom from a professional intern

It is so crazy to think just a few years ago, I was sitting in the newsroom of Shippensburg University, launching Her Campus Ship with my friend, Sarah Eyd.  Now I work at NASA Johnson Space Center in the Public Affairs Office, and I could not have done it without the mentorship and guidance of my colleagues.  To me, the barometer of success is simple; happiness.  Do what makes you happy.  I have had seven internships, and have three top tips for turning your last internship into your full-time job.       

1.) Stop trying so hard

If you are trying to be competitive, stop right there.  There is a difference in being competitive and being a decent human being and worker, and you definitely want to make sure you are not being a complete jerk to everyone on your way to the top.  Instead of trying to be competitive, try to do your job really well and try to forge positive relationships with your colleagues.  Try to be an ethical employee and make informed decisions instead of power moves.  You will find quickly that by doing all these positive things, it automatically makes you a valuable employee. 

2.) Keep your mouth shut

As an intern, I saw it all.  I have even been guilty of throwing myself into the competition and participating in the bicker my colleagues dished daily.  I learned the hard way though, that once you open your mouth it is hard to get words back, and people remember.  It does not matter how much of a jerk the person is getting bashed, say nothing about it.  People will try to bond with you by bashing someone else.  Just do not do it.    

3.) Seek out Mentors

Although a mentor may not be able to build the bridge for you, they may be able to help you safely across.  I am who I am today because of the mentorship I sought out in my places of work.  Even people who were not too excited about the idea of having lunch with the intern were susceptible to the idea after persistently asking.  I was determined to get to know them as a human being.  There may always be plain jerks out there, but if you find a good mentor, be sure to nurture that relationship.

There are tons of memoirs about someone making her first million dollars by age 25, or becoming an overnight sensation by being randomly discovered by a talent scout.  Do not let these success stories define your idea of success.  Never settle, always question your work and never stop doing what makes you tick.  To put it simply, seek happiness.   

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