I am the type of person that hates change. It takes me a little longer to really warm up to people so the thought of meeting a whole new group is terrifying. However, over the years I’ve mastered the art of faking it. It has taken me years to figure out how to channel my inner extrovert and break out of my quiet tendencies.
So, when I realized that I would be interning overseas this summer…I was hit with my first wave of anxiousness. Then the second wave came right before my first day when I started worrying about how I would interact with my new coworkers. Would they like me, would they be mean? What would I be asked to do exactly? Would I know what to do? What if I messed up?
The thing is, when I get nervous, you might never be able to tell. It’s more of an internal dialogue for me while I talk myself down and give myself a pep talk. GET IT TOGETHER SINDY.
So, I want to give you all some of my tips on how to survive your internship- told from the view of someone who walked in half a nervous wreck but hey, look at me now! I’ve survived!
- Try to remember names. It gets overwhelming when you’re first meeting people and names can easily slip. You’re going to meet a lot of new people all at once and while it’s hard to remember all of them, make an effort to try! I know sometimes I find myself focusing on trying to remember one name and then I end up forgetting all the others- or I try to remember all of their names and I end up not remembering anyone’s…oh the struggle. However, it shows people that you remember them and leaves a good impression! It’s also great if you have questions later to be able to address someone by their name.
- Bring pen and paper. You’re going to need to take notes at some point and plus it looks a lot better to be prepared. Better safe than sorry. My first day, I went straight into a department meeting I forgot to bring my notebook and pen with me inside- and a very nice co-worker of mine told me that next time I should always carry it with me. Also, remember to write down important information like your email password, login information, your phone extension number, which department you’re in, your office room number, your bosses name, the extension numbers of other departments …all these little things you might not think to remember right away actually is very important.
- Dress the part. It’s better to be over-dressed and look very unprofessional than under-dressed. Some offices aren’t very strict on the office dress code and you could easily go to work in clothes that would be considered very business casual. However, without knowing exactly what the underlying dress code is, you should always aim higher, especially on your first day.
- Don’t be scared to ask questions. It might seem nerve-wracking to go up to your boss and ask all your questions, but don’t be nervous!! Your boss is probably hoping that you’ll ask questions because this is a learning experience for you and they want you to be able to learn! Also, if you don’t ask questions, there’s a greater chance that you might make a mistake- which is a lot worse than just asking in the first place.
- Make friends. For me, it’s easy to reject other people’s invitations to go to lunch or hang out, especially when I don’t know them very well. I was asked to get lunch by two other co-workers during my first week. However, I found out that they were bringing friends from other departments and that got me rethinking my decision. I was so tired of meeting new people and just when I got comfortable with my co-workers- there I was, meeting MORE new people. I could easily be by myself and sit through my three-month internship alone in my cubicle every day- but that wouldn’t be ideal. Turns out it was such a great decision and I met some great people! Here I am two months later and they’re like friends I’ve known for ages!
- Be efficient. Show that you’re eager to work because that’s what you’re there for! If you’re given something to do, don’t take your sweet time and do it! Also, remember to always double check your work before you submit anything because making reckless mistakes also shows that you’re not detail-oriented and not professional enough to double check your work! So keep that in mind!
- Have a good time. This one might be the most important one but try to have a good fun! You might not have the opportunity to be an intern again once you really enter the working world – and interning is really for you to explore the different types of jobs out there to see if a field is really for you! So get out there and explore!
Until next time!!!