How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

It’s summer time! And that means a number of things for a lot of college students across the globe. Swimming, road trips, catching up on every show you’ve had queued up in Netflix and...internships. Oh yeah, that thing.

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Yes, many college students are experiencing a little slice of the corporate world as an intern right now. Almost a month or so in, some are gaining valuable insight, while others are under the impression coffee-fetching is all their internship’s good for, and might mentally check out because of it.

But where’s the fun in making the experience miserable? Instead of seeing internships as a drain, here are a few ways to make the experience count.

Use Down Time to Network

Interns are rarely given gigantic tasks for obvious reasons. And the ones they get most likely could be completed well before it’s time to punch out, leaving you with plenty of time to interact with others around you. After all the data entry and filing, you should take the down time to network with your temporary co-workers. Be as outgoing as possible with everyone and speak up just enough to be remembered for the right reasons.

Detach Yourself From Social Media

Unless your role is to be in charge of social media assignments, stay clear of all social media until you leave for the day. It’s so easy to take a break and get lost in your Facebook stream, stare at the latest cute kitten video or comment on some ironic post from a friend - but your responsibilities are to your internship. Use your free time wisely (see #1).

Observe The Culture

If you’re doing light work for a role that you might see yourself in one day, it’s only natural that you should take a look at how the company culture fits in as well. Is it a relaxed or somewhat stringent atmosphere? You should already know the dress code, but how familiar are you with other policies? Are there workplace restrictions that seem to affect employee motivation? Truth be told, an internship is your audition to future employers, but that doesn't mean a company’s not auditioning for you as well.

Seek Guidance From Others

No intern should go around acting like they know everything. While companies would love to draft employees who are superhuman, the reality is, employees need help every now and then - interns, especially. So when you dive into assignments, don’t be afraid to ask managers or employees how you’re performing. Get used to constructive feedback and prove to employers that you’re committed to learning every way to perfect your role.

Choose Your Internship Wisely

Internships are experiences not everyone will get the chance to take part in. And for that reason, don’t go into the process blindly. Don’t choose internships because it fills another bullet point on your resume. Do your homework beforehand and ensure whichever one you choose provides some semblance to what you want in your career.

For companies, internships can be viewed as helpful training scenarios with onboarding. And if you see one intern whose skills and commitment outshine others, don’t hesitate to keep in touch with them - they might be a star performer for you one day. As for all you interns out there, don’t get cold feet with your internship and make the most of every opportunity this summer and beyond.

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