No matter who you are, you experience being the bottom rung of the ladder at some point.
One of the most common stereotypes surrounding internships is that you are designated all the grunt work. We see evidence of this in popular tv shows, movies, and even books, so it has to be true, right? Well– yes it is kind of true, interns are given the jobs that other employees don’t care to do, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. We all have to start somewhere, and there’s no better way to learn than to start from the bottom.
The advice I would give to an intern who does not appreciate getting the grunt work is this: perspective is everything. You must always remember that scanning through documents and running errands are some of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the company. As the new employee you are tasked with learning tons of new software and websites you never even knew existed, while everyone else has had the time to master them, so don’t be so hard on yourself! If you can’t find any positives about be given all the grunt work, one thing you are sure to take away from the experience is that you never want to be the person just starting out ever again.
One challenge I know I faced coming to Indiana INTERNnet is being extremely overwhelmed. I mentioned before that as interns we are tasked to learn multiple new websites, new strategies and even new people, so of course we are going to feel swamped. It is completely normal to feel this way, but the most important thing to remember is that in these situations ask questions! Do not be afraid to feel ignorant or that you aren’t living up to the companies potential for you, because this is a learning experience after all. You were hired to learn, and the only way to get the most out of your internship is to make sure you are understanding/learning the way that works best for you.
The final challenge I want to bring to light is the challenge of transitioning from classroom to cubical. No one prepares you for how uninspiring the office environment can be and this was undoubtedly the toughest obstacle I am still battling with. One way to make sure you are staying creative and inspired in your work space is to decorate it! I know this sounds obvious but it is 100% necessary. Decorate your cubical with photos that make you smile, plants, and happy colors; maybe even stock up on colorful pens to make your notes more fun. The smallest details can improve your office work ethic.
The challenge of being an intern is being at the bottom, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it only goes up from here.