What to Expect from Your First Internship

With summer around the corner, many upperclassmen begin to search for internships. While the search for internships can be stressful, once you find one, it can be a rewarding and beneficial learning experience. Based on personal experience and feedback from others, many internships are full of surprises and possibly different from what you expected. That being said, here is what you should expect from your first internship:

Independence:

Your boss or supervisor is most likely swamped with major responsibilities day to day. Although they are glad to have an intern, sometimes assigning projects and learning experiences for their intern is not their top priority. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to teach you, it just means they are busy at the given time. Be prepared to find ways of being proactive, and take charge without them telling you exactly what to do and how to do it. 

a woman sits at a wooden desk writing in a notebook. there is an imac in front of her.

Asking questions:

No matter what intern position you are in or how prepared you think you are, you most likely will have a ton of questions in the beginning. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions because at the end of the day, internships are intended for experiential learning. Also, in most situations people are happy to help out. 

Some tasks are more simple than others:

In an entry level job, you will most likely not be starting off with the most important tasks and may be given some responsibilities which seem mundane. Keep in mind that in order to get to the top, you have to work your way up. Have an open mind with the tasks that seem slightly boring, and realize that you can learn from something as simple as entering data in a spreadsheet or filing.

Socializing with other employees:

As the new intern, full time employees will probably be open and excited to talk with you. Take these elevator conversations or lunch break encounters as a time to network with other people at the company. Most people love to chat about their experiences in their career and it can be helpful information to hear as a young person entering the industry. 

Schedule adjustment:

In the beginning of your internship, you might be a little shocked at the adjustment of being in an office from 9-5, five days per week. Reality check: this is what “the real world” is like, and coming from a college student schedule of having class for only a few hours per day, it can be a time adjustment and pretty exhausting. However, you will get used to it after the first few weeks, and it helps build time management skills. 

Professional network:

After your internship you will likely start building your professional network. Whether it is with the other interns, your personal supervisor, or other employees, you will have formed connections that are beneficial for networking opportunities, future jobs, advice, etc. 

Overall, your internship will be a great experience and will definitely be an enhancement for your resume and personal development. Going into it, keep these expectations in mind and stay positive about what is to come!