How to prepare for a summer internship

A student offers some advice to her peers to help get through the day-to-day stresses of intern life.

As summer approaches, students are in a frenzy trying to get ready for their internships. Questions swim through our heads. “What should I wear?” “How do I get there?” “Should I pack a lunch, or buy?” Though you may think you are alone, these are the same questions running through everyone’s mind. Fear not. With a few weeks left until most start dates, here is a complete guide to preparing for a summer internship. Do your homework before you start. You don’t want to walk in that first day not knowing anything. Stay up to date on what your company is working on by creating Google Alerts, get a vibe for the company culture, and know your facts. This will help you tremendously. Practice getting there. It might seem silly, but the last thing you want to do is show up late on your first day because you were unsure about the commute. Time the drive or check public transportation schedules, and go on a test run just to make sure you have it down. You can even stop by the office to say hi and meet people before you start. Update your wardrobe. Although leggings and a sweatshirt might cut it in the classroom, they won’t quite work at an internship. Research the company and see what kinds of clothes they wear. If you are at a more corporate location the dress might be more business professional, but at an agency it might be more casual. Regardless, it never hurts to buy a few more pieces to add to your professional wardrobe. Dress to impress. And go easy on fragrances; some people are hyper-sensitive to them. Make friends with the other interns. Find out if there are other interns and who they are. Maybe your internship creates an intern Facebook group, or maybe you are included in the same email chain. Get to know these people and become friends with them. It helps to walk in on your first day knowing that you are all in the same boat and can help each other out. Research the surrounding area. If your internship is in a location that you are unfamiliar with, do your research. What restaurants are around? Are there ATMs nearby? Where can you get coffee? These are important questions to answer, especially if you plan on eating lunch out or getting coffee every morning. Get your sleep on track. As we finish out the school year, staying up until 3 a.m. is fairly common, especially during finals week. Unfortunately that is not a good sleeping habit to have for a summer internship. In the days leading up to your first day, practice going to bed at a decent time and waking up around the time you would to prepare for the workday. This will help get your sleeping patterns get back on track, and you will be much happier when your first day rolls around. Smile and have fun. As scary as it may seem to have an internship and get real-world experience, it is also an exciting time. Remember to smile and have fun and experience your internship to the fullest extent possible. You will survive your first day, and although there may be a few bumps in the road here and there, it will all be OK. Just be sure to enjoy the ride. Cidnye Weimer is a junior strategic communication major in the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She is also the president elect for Ohio University’s PRSSA chapter, Scripps PRSSA. Follow her on Twitter @CidnyeWeimer.


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