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5 Things That Surprised Me About My First Internship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

This week marks the end of my first ever internship, which is definitely bittersweet. Not only am I super proud of myself for getting through the last six months, but I’ve also been lucky enough to have an incredible experience that I’m sad to say goodbye to. That being said, the experience wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Here are the five things that were most surprising about my first internship.

The Dress Code

Solely based on things I’ve seen on TikTok and The Devil Wears Prada, I was completely ready to be rocking up to the office with full-on corporate girly vibes. On my first day, I showed up in a matching blazer and slacks. However, I was super lucky to be in an office environment where freedom of expression was celebrated – as long as I was wearing closed-toed shoes. I’ve even been able to show up in sundresses as the weather gets warmer.

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Email/Slack Etiquette

Personally, I remember my high school teachers making a HUGE deal about being formal over email. They always used to stress how important it was when talking to future employers. However, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve sent a message to one of my supervisors and received a “ya perf tysm!!” in response. 

Flexible Lunch Breaks

This obviously isn’t the case everywhere, but I was lucky enough to get an hour-long break for lunch everyday whenever I wanted. It was a really nice way to decompress, especially on the long days, and not feel like I had to eat in a rush and hurry back to the office. I was also fortunate to have a bunch of cute cafes and lunch spots nearby to try.

Making Friends With Other Interns

Again, I really thought my life was going to be like The Devil Wears Prada where Emily Blunt was my one frenemy in the office. I was super surprised to discover that not only were there tons of other girls interning with me, but most of them were UCLA students too! I’ve been able to make some amazing friends in my major who I know I can always look for in my classes, which has been a huge highlight.

How Fast It’s Gone

It’s incredibly hard to believe that I’ve already spent SIX MONTHS interning, considering how much I’ve learned. The time has definitely flown by! As I’m beginning have some of the new interns shadow me so they can get the hang of things, it’s starting to feel super surreal that I’m acclimated enough to be a leader for others, especially because of how much I still have left to learn.

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely excited to have a break this summer. But I feel so fortunate to have had a first intern experience that is so hard to say goodbye to. As college starts to fly by, it’s nice to know that having a big girl job isn’t quite as terrifying as it seems in my head. Obviously, my experience isn’t the exact picture of every internship out there, but hopefully this goes to show you that being an intern can be more than just work – it can also be a lot of fun. 

Kelly is a second-year Communications major at UCLA from Pasadena, California. During her free time, she can usually be found lost in a book, grabbing a coffee, or obsessing over the latest reality TV show.