How To Be “The Summer Intern”

Summer. What a marvelous season. It embodies good times, iced tea, hammocks and watermelon. As a kid, it was almost magical. SUMMER. Nothing was as exhilarating as getting out of school on the last day of the year and being on summer vacation.

Hmmmm. We all remember it.

Well, I’m 20 now, and summer doesn’t feel quite the same. Have you noticed how summer can actually be more stressful than the school year? As a college student, summer is not the time to slack off. It is almost looked down upon to do anything not “world-changing”, or at least “life-changing”. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself somewhere new, scary, out of your comfort zone and extremely challenging these summer months.

So what do you do? You’re working an internship that scares your socks off. It’s hard being the new kid. You’re getting peoples’ coffee. You’re only 20 and you feel like you’re supposed to have your life together. Maybe you’re in a new town, staying with a host family or in an apartment. You might be 36 hours or 2 minutes away from home. You’re in over your head- trying to swim in this crazy journey called “adulthood”.

How do you do it?

I myself am interning this summer 2 hours from home. I’m staying with host families and trying to get used to my new office. So- fellow interns- I’m here to discuss how to make this the best summer yet. Let’s get out of the Netflix world together and make some real memories, shall we?

Here’s how to live that “Summer Intern Life”.

 

Embrace the Challenge.

Let’s face it. Internships are hard. You’re not gonna have any idea what the heck is going on for a solid three weeks. Everyone else will have a set job and be established, and you’ll be… the intern. Don’t let it discourage you. Embrace the challenge and see how far it can take you!

 

Have a Vision

Being “the coffee person” can be tedious if you don’t have a reason for being where you are. If just being an intern is your end goal it’s going to be a long and terrible summer. Make sure you choose a business or organization that you’re passionate about and intern there! Have a dream about where this internship can take you in a year or two. That way, it’s not “just an internship”. It may be the job that will lead you exactly where you want to go.

 

Meet People

To the best of your ability, don’t be the intern that sits in the corner and doesn’t meet a soul. Yes, you’re the new guy. Yes, everyone else probably already knows each other. But take a leap and introduce yourself to someone new every day! Whether you’re using the copier at the same time as someone else or you pass an unknown coworker on the way to the bathroom, say hello! Introvert or extrovert- you can do this! You never know how these people will affect your life- but the first step is saying “hi”.

 

Don’t Underestimate Yourself

Remember: everyone you’re working with was in your place once. It’s true! Everyone around you, even your boss, was a 20 year-old summer intern once. Don’t underestimate yourself! You’re a fresh face in the office, and that just may be your superpower. Offer your youth and fresh ideas and energy. Chances are, your co-workers need someone just like you in the office. And if you have your eye on a certain job or position? Then dream it! Start working hard today, and you may just surprise yourself!

 

You Won’t be an Intern Forever

Thank goodness! The awesome news is that this is only temporary. No one is an intern forever. It may last 2 months or even a year, but it will end. So allow that thought to comfort you when you realize that your job is not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 

Don’t Expect Too Much

Since you’re only working there for a short time, this job may not be the greatest thing to ever happen to you. You might not make an “Office BFF” or have the best experiences of your life. Chances are, most days you’ll just buckle in and do your work and go home. That’s OK. Just do your best and you’ll be fine.

 

Soak It All In

Everyone around you probably has a million responsibilities and a real job and a myriad of stresses. But not you! You’re young enough to be able to just soak in everything around you! Observe how people work. Listen in on meetings. Ask people about their jobs. Learn something new every day about the line of work you’re interning for. Even though you’re not in school, but a student of your job! Chances are it will quite literally pay off in the end.

 

Enjoy Yourself!

Even though you’re working, it is summer! Crank the tunes with the windows rolled down on the way to work. Take your lunch break outside. Hum a tune when you’re working an Excel spreadsheet. Pack your hiking boots and hit up a trail after work. Buy your favorite kind of coffee to enjoy every morning. Call up your college friends and exchange “intern-stories” in the evenings. If you’re in a new town- explore the town! Be intentional in doing what you love and you’ll have a great summer no matter what your job title is!

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