7 Lessons From My First Internship

1. Time management.

When I began my internship at the start of the spring semester, I immediately felt I had made a mistake. Balancing schoolwork on top of internship work seemed impossible, but it actually benefitted me. I learned how to manage my time in a busy schedule, which is definitely a valuable skill. 

2. How to communicate. 

At first, I felt too shy or scared to ask for help or clarification on tasks, but many supervisors welcome questions and it will make life much easier for you when completing tasks. While some workplaces have more open communication than others, don't be afraid to speak up when you need it. 

3. You're not an expert, and it's okay.

I went into this internship with zero professional experience. I thought that would be a weakness of mine, but it turns out it doesn't matter. Everyone has to start somewhere, and your employer doesn't expect you to know everything. Entry-level experience and exposure to aspects of the professional world are really what matters.

4. Don't knock the small tasks. 

Some supervisors will have interns complete tasks that may seem insignificant or a waste of time. I was fortunate to have very few of these, but don't knock the small tasks. Every small thing you do is to benefit some aspect of the company, and it will teach you something. 

5. Take advantage of connections.

Use your time at this company to learn more about it. It helps to understand how it interacts with other organizations and potential future employers. If your supervisor allows you to network or work with mentors, take advantage of it. 

6. Keep a list of your accomplishments. 

This was a requirement for my internship, but I believe it's useful for any intern to do. Having a list of what you have done at the company helps to update your resume later and reflect on your time at the company.  

7. Send thank you notes & keep in touch.

A real thank you card. My employers loved receiving thank you cards from clients and past interns, there is something more personal and appreciative about it. Remember to thank them in person, as well, and ask to keep in touch for future opportunities and recommendations.