Starting a new internship can be an interesting time. Getting a taste of what your career may be can be exciting, but often times when entering a new internship you don’t know what to expect. While every internship is a bit different from the others, there are a few things you can expect going into one.
In your first week in any new position, there will be a lot of information coming your way. From the intricate tasks you’ll perform to locating the coffee maker, you will be brought up to speed on how the office operates and how you will fit into that organization. Consequently, you can run into information overload. Make sure you take good notes as you absorb as much information as you can, and if there is something that you can’t remember, reach out to your team members. They want to see you succeed at this internship just as much as you would like to succeed. One technique I use is taking “micro-breaks” between information-heavy meetings. When you are able to get a few minutes between your busy first week schedule, walk around the office, try and locate some of the key locations shown to you during your initial building tour, or even locate every bathroom in the building. By getting up and walking around for a few minutes it can help your mind stay sharper by allowing for more blood flow to the brain, keeping you more alert for the next few meetings and allowing you to retain more information coming during the rest of the day.
Let me know if this sounds familiar. You have the “best resume we’ve ever seen from someone at this point in their career,” “amazing qualifications,” and that you could be “a quality asset for the team.” Despite a lot of the praise that can come around the time of being told that you got the internship, once you get into the position, you are often faced with the realities of your situation. It is usually around this stage that you begin to learn that despite your “flawless” resume, there may be some tasks associated with the position that you may not have the skills to complete.
This isn’t any fault of your own. The people who hired you read the resume you carefully crafted and very likely spoke with you about the skills you possess. They know that you may not explicitly have learned every part of the position prior to being hired. What they do know you possess is an ability to learn, to take in new information, and most importantly, they know you have the ability to Google things. This is often how people work many times in the real world. If they don’t know how to complete a particular task, just search for the solution. We live in the 21st century, and perhaps the most important skill of the 21st century workplace is knowing how to ask the right questions, and that includes using online searching to help you better complete tasks that help you complete your internship.
As you begin your internship not everything may smoothly. It takes time to adapt, and there may be uncontrolled circumstances that cause disruption. From computers not being ready by your start date or your desk being whatever chair is free in the office, to a laptop that refuses to acknowledge the concept of wi-fi exists for a day and a half (a true story for another time), these issues can and will come up. The best thing you can do as a new intern is to be as flexible as possible and make do until a solution is figured out. As rough as working through these issues can be, showing your new employer that you are adaptable will make a good first impression and can get you started on the right foot with those you will be working with.
This may be obvious, but it’s also easy to overlook this last point: your team is here to help. Starting a new internship can be scary. A team of people who have often been working together for months or years prior to your arrival have chosen you to join their team and you don’t want to disappoint them. But despite the pressure that you may be putting on yourself, at the end of the day you are all working towards the same goal. Your new colleagues were likely in a similar position to where you were when they started and are familiar with the struggles you may be going through. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teammates if your struggling with something, chances are they’ve been there before.
Overall, if you’re just starting an internship or about to, focus on the excitement of a new experience and what you will learn rather than worrying about how you will do. You earned the internship for a reason and now is your chance to get a taste of the working world, learn some new skills, and maybe make some friends along the way. It’s a new beginning in the middle of normalcy, take advantage of the opportunity and see what mountains you can move!