Internships can be intimidating, as they’re seen as the first big leap into professional territory
. No matter your field or major, internships are indubitably a great source for hands-on learning, but alas they can sometimes be overwhelming.
As the current social media intern at BLASTmedia, I can relate. One of my biggest learning moments occurred on the first day of my internship. I joined the social media team for our morning huddle, when each person explains what they’re working on for the day. One by one, each social media account rep casually carried on about the approximately two-dozen tasks they had to accomplish for the day—plus blog posts to be written, reports to be compiled, and client calls to be made.
I nearly went into cardiac arrest. I didn’t understand half of the things my new teammates were talking about. Completely overwhelmed, I remember thinking: “How in the world do they do it all? Do they expect me to do all of this? What if I die?”
Fast forward eight weeks and I’m still alive. I’m still boggled at the amount of work social media professionals manage at one time. The encouraging part is—as they’ve all assured me—this didn’t happen over night. It requires a lot of practice and time management.
In fact, throughout this internship I feel like I’m getting a hang of it. But if you’re heading into an internship soon and time management isn’t your thing, take note of the following internship tips:
Jot it down.
Don’t think you can remember everything? Notes will be your best friend and reference. Write the directions as they are being told to you. This will prevent you from forgetting important instructions and will allow you to complete the task correctly on the first try.
Stop procrastinating. Prioritize and get to work. When you receive an assignment, jump on it as soon as you can. Even though it may not be due until the end of the day, it’s better to do it as best as you can and get it out of the way. If it still needs a little TLC, come back to it later after you’ve taken a minor brain break.
Reject the stress.
Don’t stress out. You’re not Miranda Priestly
’s assistant. You’re probably over thinking it. Taking a deep breath and re-prioritize.
The beauty of being new is that you don’t have to know everything. Asking questions will not make you look stupid. It lets your internship coordinator know that you care. A lot of time can be wasted trying to figure something out or redoing it because the assignment was completed incorrectly.
Check your email.
Check your email and check it often. In the business world, it’s important to check your email as much as you check your phone. Also, respond, even if it’s just a simple confirmation that you received the email. This will help you be on top of your game at all times and let your supervisor know that you’re on top of it.
Respect the work.
Sometimes as an intern, you’ll be given a job that seems too easy. Even if it seems tedious, there is a reason that you have been given that job. In time, those little things help you understand the big picture.
Be optimistic. Go into your internship with an open mind and be ready to work. A positive attitude will encourage everyone around the office to give you work and treat you like an equal.
Sam Crone is a senior Public Relations major at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Currently Sam serves as the social media intern at BLASTmedia in Indianapolis. Follow her on Twitter @SamCrone. A version of this story first appeared on the BLASTmedia blog.