Midterms are over, which means that we have officially made it past the halfway point of the semester. Summer break will be here before you know it, and for those who have managed to score an internship for the summer, you may be wondering how to make the most of your opportunity.
Wonder no longer — Let me be your guide to the unknown.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
One of the best ways to maximize your internship is to ask questions.
This first one is simple, but it is also the easiest way to get information from your colleagues and superiors.
An internship is an opportunity to really dig into the life that you might have after graduation. Even more important is that an entrance-level internship can turn into a full-time opportunity with the company in the future.
Your brain should be a sponge
With that in mind, it would be helpful to learn as much as you can from the people you are shadowing or the role you are filling.
No doubt there will be people there that have a depth of experience in your field. Ask questions. Soak up as much knowledge as you can in those precious few weeks.
Network, network, network
This brings us to the next section: network as much as possible.
The point that I made in the first section about future employment applies here as well. While an internship is a way for you to gain hands-on experience in your field of study, it is also a chance to form personal relationships with people already working in the industry.
Don’t be shy. Strike up a conversation, sit with people during lunch, and don’t be afraid to go to that company dinner if you’re invited.
The world is small, and you never know who you may run into again in the future.
Build your portfolio
In the process of building these professional relationships, it won’t hurt to ask if you can take the work that you do with you.
Building your portfolio is always a good idea. Unfortunately, depending on the stipulations of the internship, this is not always possible. All is not lost if that ends up being the case, however. Another option is to try and implement the new skills learned into your personal projects.
Volunteer as much as you can
Depending on the company, your internship program may be extremely well put together, or slowly falling apart.
If your internship program isn’t the most well put together, and you find yourself sitting around doing nothing, don’t just take that. If you go out of your way to be a little annoying, you’ll find someone who needs help. Hopefully, that new task will help you gain a skill that isn’t remembering coffee orders.
Get enough rest
In the name of preventing burnout, make sure you take the necessary breaks to keep your brain fresh and charged. It may be tempting to go all in when you’re first starting, but fatigue will only negatively impact the quality and quantity of the work that you put out there.
This is by no means advocating that you do the bare minimum and call it a day; put your best foot forward, but remember that being able to balance work and personal life is a part of having a fulfilling career.
Each person has different needs and expectations regarding internships, so your mileage may vary. Nevertheless, these tips should be helpful no matter your field of study.