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When I got offered the job here at Indiana INTERNnet, I was a freshman in college. At that time, I had no idea what being an intern really meant or what I was getting myself into. As I’m finishing up my third week on the job, I have come across some helpful hints for starting your first internship and what to expect.

First Day Nerves                         

For me, my first day was terrifying. I was so nervous about what to do, what to say, how to act, and everything in-between. I did not want to make myself stand out in any way, or say the wrong thing, which made everything worse. The whole day was amazing and I could go back to that day and just tell myself that everything was fine. My first piece of advice is one of the biggest takeaways: everyone is nervous on their first day, getting into a routine will just take time.

Ask Questions                                     

As someone who thinks independence is the most important quality in a person, I struggled a little with this aspect. I had to learn that asking questions will only make you smarter. During the first couple of days, prepare for a lot of new information. It is okay to take a second and ask to make sure you understand something. Your future self will thank you; I promise. Asking questions also proves your interest in succeeding at the job and want to learn more.

Networking

During your first day, there’s lots of new information, and you’ll meet a thousand new people. Do not worry if you can’t recall everyone’s name right away! Just like with the job, it comes with time. It might be intimidating at first, but I promise that almost everyone you meet will be happy to help you if you ask. Also, this is a perfect time to get to know people in a field you might be interested in, so don’t be afraid to network and get to know some of your coworkers. You never know who could get you your next job.

Mistakes Happen

Mistakes are a part of learning and come with the territory. Do not be afraid to own up to your mistakes and learn from them.  Remember you can only do your best until you know better. Internships are there to be a learning experience and mistakes happen to everyone.

Additional Tips:

  • Research the company beforehand
  • Bring gum and snacks for emergencies
  • Stay off your phone
  • Bring a notebook and pen/take notes
  • Stay positive

I’m still learning as I get used to this new experience.  This learning process includes picking up new pieces of advice every day. There is so much more information out there. Practice makes progress and progress means learning!

 

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