Internships, as with most things, are a lot more glamorous in retrospect. I love looking back on my internships a lot more than I enjoyed actually being in them. People always say that internships are about the experience, but as I become more seasoned in the internship game, I’m starting to thing that’s not true. Internships are about the lessons learned. Even if you never get a job in the field that you interned in, you should never be able to walk away from an internship and say you learned nothing. Internships are a breeding ground for life lessons. Here a few that really stuck with me.
1. Attitude is everything- Very few situations in life are exactly what you want them to be. No one is going to treat you exactly how you think you should be treated and things aren’t always going to go your way. That’s fine. How you react to these situations is what matters. It might sound corny but waking up at 6 a.m. to sit in an office all day is a lot less miserable if you put on a smile. The days where I would go into the office annoyed that I had to be there were just that, annoying. And everyone could feel it. If you are radiating bad energy in any situation, that’s all you can expect to get back.
2. Being early shows you care- Of course being late is frowned upon. They teach you that in kindergarten. But, what they don’t teach you is to be early. Not only is it professional, but it shows whoever you are meeting that you value their time. There are few things worse than being on time for a meeting only to have to sit and wait for the other person. The last thing you want to do is turn someone off before you even open your mouth.
3. Be confident- People are attracted to confidence. No one wants to be around someone who is always second guessing themselves. Make eye contact when you are having a conversation and speak with authority. If you aren’t a particularly confident person, fake it ’till you make it. No one knows how uncomfortable you are but you. Say what you think is right and say it with passion.
4. Delivery is everything- This kind of goes along with being confident. As a writer I’m always pitching stories. If I sound like I could care less about the story, its going to be hard to muster up any support from the people around me. The same is true in life. You know what you are passionate about. When people ask you about it, be ready to tell them. A professor of mine once said that you should always be able to show a sample of whatever sets you on fire. You never know who is looking to fund your passion.
5. A clean workspace is a happy workspace- I guess some people can work in clutter. I am not one of those people. Cleanliness is just so much more conducive to productivity. Everything is right where it is supposed to be and you don’t have to sift through Ritz cracker crumbs to find a pen.
6. Bad days are temporary- I am not a crier. But I have cried at each and every one of my internships. Sometimes you just have those days where the pressure is high and your emotional stability is at a low. The best thing you can do for yourself is realize that once you finish crying, there is still a job to be done. Work doesn’t stop just because you did something wrong and life doesn’t end because something didn’t go your way. So go in that supply closet and cry over the cleaning supplies. Just make sure when you come out, you’re done with your pity party and ready to do your job.
[Lead image via Goodluz/Shutterstock]