How to make the most out of your student internship

Credit: Buzzfeed

Credit: Buzzfeed

Internships are a wonderful opportunity for university students to sharpen their professional skills and gain valuable insight into the practical side of their majors.

So here's how to make the most out of your time as an intern.

Set up clear end goals. Do not take up an internship just because it is a graduation requirement. Go over your options carefully and choose what best suits your personality and future career goals. Define your desired outcomes before starting out (writing them down can be helpful) and direct your efforts toward meeting them once you have settled in. Make sure to not go overboard with your expectations, however. Optimistic but realistic is the best way to go about it!

Never take things lightly. Always do your best, even if you end up stuck with an internship that you do not like. Being an intern is by no means an excuse for you to be lazy out at the office while your colleagues are working hard. Never undermine your responsibilities. Whatever task you are given, execute it as neatly as possible within the designated time frame.

Rise above the expectations. Doing the work assigned by your supervisor will surely get you through the day. But going the extra mile is what will make you stand out.  

Ask questions, lots of them. Do not be afraid to inquire about something that you do not understand or any new concepts/techniques you come across. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Asking the right questions is the key to learning and growing in just any professional setting. After all, your supervisors and colleagues are there to help you out and guide you through your journey.

Observe and learn. Be a good observer. Take note of the little details and subtleties of the workspace you are in, especially in times of crisis or overload. You will learn valuable interpersonal and problem-solving skills that will be of important use later on.

Find a comfortable routine and stick to it. Being an intern gives you the chance to experiment with different work routines in order to ultimately find your best. This includes everything from scheduling your daily tasks to what food to bring for lunch.

Refuse to be abused. While you should always strive to follow instructions and deliver satisfying results, you would not want to be consumed by an insurmountable bulk of work at the end of the day just because you are ‘the intern’ and everyone is throwing out tasks at you. Let your supervisor know whenever you feel unable to keep up and do not just let it slide.

Have fun. Remember to have fun and build sustainable relationships with your colleagues and supervisors. Everyone could use a little humor from time to time!

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