What To Expect At Your First Internship
You’ve been studying for years, and now it’s time to get some real-world experience. What should you expect at your first internship and how should you conduct yourself?
Internships are vastly different from organization to organization. If you are watching shows on HBO like Silicon Valley, then you might have a profoundly warped vision of what happens in the real world. Today’s youth in Pakistan live drastically different lives than their parent’s generations. Today’s youth have instant access to anything in the world, and this is both good and bad.
Having all of this technology at our fingertips is good in a sense that people can learn about anything on their own and not through someone else’s words. Technology allows the youth to form a more unbiased opinion about other cultures, societies, and countries. How today’s technology is harmful to youths, comes from comparing their lives to celebrity’s lives, wealthier friends lives, or merely seeing their regular friends doing better than they are. These social media observations could lead to depression or it could lead to enormous expectations that usually don’t happen in the real world.
You should view internships only as an opportunity to:
- pick up on how to conduct yourself in a work environment
- pick up some extra skills
- have job experience to put on your resume
- network with other people for future deeds
Do not go into your first internship with high demands, super high expectations, and don’t go in acting like the company owes you something because of your greatness. They don’t, and you aren’t great, yet. When you get to your first internship, you need to make sure you have the right mindset. You are there to learn; you are there to soak in everything you can so you can be more professional at your first internship.
Here are EIGHT things you need to accomplish at your first internship.
- Learn how to be on-time every single day. Be on time for meetings, be on-time when you are back from lunch or breaks, really learn how to be punctual. Punctuality will always serve you well at everything you end up doing in life.
- Make connections. Meet as many people as you can at your first internship, because you will probably need to call on them as they go out and find other jobs. You never know who you will need later in life and when you might need them. Remember, it’s not always what you know, but who you know that helps people succeed in life.
- Learn that it’s okay to make a mistake. If you make a mistake, it is best to own up to the mistake and to NOT blame others! Then learn from the mistake and vow not to do it again. We all make mistakes, it’s what you do after the mistake that matters the most.
- Be humble with the work the company gives you. Yes, they probably won’t permit you to run a sales team from day one. Instead, they may have you cleaning under desks or getting tea for the salespeople. Keep a humble nature about you and do what they request. It’s ok to ask them if there will be time for you to learn or train on something that will further your career, but keep your head down and do what the company asks you. If the company can’t give you any promise of learning something beneficial to your career, then you chose the wrong internship.
- Learn how to be professional! You can’t dress in your same old khaki shorts with holes in them anymore. You need to start wearing nicer clothes and grooming yourself better now that you are in a real work environment. Carry yourself professionally and by all means, DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN GOSSIP CIRCLES. Learn how to avoid those at all costs.
- Learn patience, as you may become bored. Remember that you are not there for the company to keep you entertained. You are there to get what? Get a few extra skills, learn how to be professional and get the experience on your resume. Stop thinking you are in Silicon Valley and expecting a fast-paced lifestyle of fast cars and tons of money because that’s not the real world.
- Learn that quality trumps quantity. When your company gives you a task, make sure you do it with quality in mind instead of quantity. Yes, you might be slower at first, but you are taking the time to do it right. After you do a few tasks over and over, your speed will increase, and you will have mastered both quality and quantity.
- Try to give your ideas to your manager. Sometimes companies get so set in their ways, that they are not able to see how anything could be different. Just having a new set of eyes come into the equation can sometimes be a blessing. So try to offer your ideas, and if the company shuns you, then you know this isn’t the right environment to try to get a full-time job.
When you go in for your first internship, be humble and keep your exceptions in check. Hopefully, when you were interviewing for the internship, you asked them up front what skills you will learn or what experience you will gain. Make sure they live up to their promises, but also you need to live up to your end as well. Do not be a disrupter in the company. Work environments are entirely different than college or university environments. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the real world now.