Internships are a large learning curve for undergraduate students. But they are also a good start to set you up for your professional career. If you’re still not sure on what career path you want to take or what industry you want to work in, an internship will be a perfect way to have hands-on experience, gain and develop new skills, and learn insight on what it’s like to work in that industry.
You will grow and learn a lot as an intern, so here are a few things I learned.
Don’t expect a gold sticker for good work.
If you are doing well with your tasks and putting in all of your effort, your work will be recognized in the long term. But from what I experienced, don’t expect to get a praise for every task that you do. This does not mean you’re not doing the work right or wrong. It just means people at work are doing their own tasks. The key to career success is self-motivation, rather than depending on others to praise you or push you to do better. You have to do it yourself.
Know how to manage and organize your tasks.
It is very important to keep all of your tasks in one place. If you are working in a fast-paced environment or given a lot of work as an intern, be ready to pull out your organization skills and put them to use.
What I have found useful is creating a word document and listing all of my tasks. Whenever I’m given another task throughout the day, I would quickly jot them down on my paper. It’s really important to visualize your task on a word document, planner, etc. Whatever works for you, but this has helped me manage and organize my tasks as an intern.
Don’t be hard on yourself when you make a mistake.
No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. That is what makes us human. But just remember to not make the same mistake again. If there was a task that you messed up on or you didn’t know how to do, accept your mistake, take responsibility, and learn from it. The smartest people that I’ve noticed don’t make the least amount of mistakes, but instead learn from their errors and move on from it effectively. Progress is potent.
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