This time four weeks ago, I had just started my summer internship in Newcastle. Nervous doesn’t even begin to cover how I was feeling walking into the building. However, after three full weeks here, I think I’m finally finding my stride, or at least have stopped the nervous gabbling long enough to get some work done.
I still have another ten weeks to go, so there’s plenty of time for me to
fuck up learn more. I have already learnt some valuable lessons in these first few weeks, though, which I think were pretty important for me to get on board ASAP.
Make a good impression
On top of wearing that look of ignorance that every newbie can’t hide, I was also so over-dressed in my black dress and boots when everyone else was in jeans and jumpers. I’d wear ball gowns every day if I could, so being over-dressed doesn’t really embarrass me. Under-dressing is a different matter altogether. If I had rocked up in my dirty Nikes whilst the rest of the office were in suits and heels, I don’t think I could have gone back for a second day.
Also, you have to brown-nose a bit. Without cutting corners or being sloppy, power through all the work they give you and ask for more. In fact, suck up like an oversized teacher’s pet and offer to do all the crappy jobs no one else wants to be stuck with, like filing or doing a tea round. Eagerness might make you feel ridiculous but it’ll benefit you in the long run when you become known as the intern who actually does work – which can be a rare occurrence in some companies.
Sometimes, you won’t have anything to do
An intern is there to help out and get work experience. You really don’t have much responsibility at all because most of the time, you’re just assisting rather than heading up any big projects. I mean, that’s great because you can make a few mistakes without major repercussions, but it also means that sometimes, there’s nothing for you to do whilst you wait for everyone to do the high-priority stuff. Occupy yourself if you can with extra work, tidying up what you’ve done… Just don’t moan about being bored, or keep pestering the people who have actual things to do.
You are temporary
You weren’t there last month, and in a month or two you’ll be gone again. Although I’ve been lucky with the team I’m on (quick note: they are the NICEST people to work with), you cannot expect everyone to suddenly become your best friend. I’m not saying don’t talk to people because being the moody kid* is just as bad, but don’t jump into all their conversations or try to get involved in their personal lives. If you’re not asked to a team night out, don’t invite yourself along. It pays to be friendly, but not desperate, or just plain creepy.
*yes, they will probably consider you as a kid if you’re a student.
I’ve heard so many horror stories about internships, from hours of pure boredom to being treated like shit on someone’s shoe. I’m definitely one of the lucky few who has stumbled into a position with lovely colleagues and interesting work, like publishing original content, interviewing incredible people and being able to see the outcome at event days. I am so grateful that I chose to take a bit of gamble by applying for this internship and living alone, away from home, rather than working somewhere I have no interest in at home.
Maybe it seems like bragging but I’m just happy that I seem to be giving myself a bit of direction. Let me be a bit smug.
I can’t wait to see what happens over the next two months or so. Maybe I’ll find a career path. Maybe I’ll finally learn how everyone likes their tea (oh my god I am useless at this, I always make it too strong).
How is your summer going? Have you started a job or an internship?