I’ve done two of these internships now, so I thought I would share some words of wisdom (how wise they actually are is to be determined).
1. Dream big. I almost didn’t do an internship this semester. At the end of last semester, I didn’t have any prospects or contacts for possible internships. This was due in part to my procrastination, but mostly due to my disbelief that I could actually obtain the internship I really wanted. I knew that I wanted to try working for a magazine, but I applied for different positions at newspapers and non-profits instead – they were the ones listed on NazLink, the ones recommended with good contacts, the ones sort of almost guaranteed.
After a few half-hearted applications, I googled “magazines in Rochester, NY” and read up on Rochester Woman Magazine. I found an email address and decided to do something out-of-the-box. I got a call a week later and was offered my current position by the time I hung up the phone. You can be gifted all the resources and connections and opportunities in the world, but if it just doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Listen to your gut and go for what seems impossible – it very rarely is.
2. Have faith in your abilities. Once you land that dream internship, you’re probably going to be feeling nervous. Like, really nervous. Like, I wanna pee my pants and possibly throw up nervous. Good, you should be. At the same time, don’t let that debilitate you – let it motivate you! Your nervous energy can propel you to give your very best to each and every task you complete. It can also make you so anxious that you can’t function – especially when you’re doing something completely new and different. Take a deep breath, remember that they hired you, and pretend you just got off the phone with your mom (or whoever your personal cheerleader is). Your belief in yourself and your abilities will make even the most insurmountable tasks seem less overwhelming.
3. Don't be so hard on yourself. If you do mess up or get criticism, remind yourself that an internship is about learning. You can’t get everything right the first time – especially if you’ve never done something before! Each task or assignment is the opportunity to learn something new. Be open to suggestions and criticism. While it’s one of the hardest things to learn to accept, it is also one of the most beneficial – good constructive criticism can open your eyes to things you never thought of! Being an intern is about learning and growing, so the sooner you accept that, the more enjoyment you will gain out of the process!