Since I was just over half way through my internship, I thought I would give a little advice to those of you becoming, or thinking of becoming, an intern soon.
These are a few things you should think about if you’re considering becoming an intern in the near future:
Firstly, if you are going to be full-time interning whilst all/majority of your friends are still studying, your schedules are going to be pretty different. Don’t be too daunted, its super manageable. Just don’t get frustrated trying to keep up with them, at the end of the day its you that has to be in at work by 8:30 tomorrow. I wouldn’t say I’m a role-model in this regard and have had my fair share of extremely late nights/early mornings before a day of work. Just prepare yourself (In one instance when I woke up on a friend’s beanbag in their lounge the next morning, without a bag or phone and had to then endure a long day of work in my clothes from the night before.) It isn’t fun, but you’ll learn this quickly. One hungover day at work will teach you more about saying “no” to a night out than anything ever before.
Secondly, most of the time, you won’t be getting paid anything too substantial to be an intern. Try to negotiate getting paid at least a little and always make sure that if you’re driving a lot, that your petrol is covered. As becoming an intern could then result in bleeding your bank account dry.
Getting paid such a small amount for the vast quantity of work you do as an intern, can be highly frustrating at times, but just blast some music and have the odd frustrated cry in the car on the way home. It helps a lot. But try avoid ugly crying in traffic – its extra uncomfortable making eye contact with people around you.
Thirdly, although being an intern encompasses your fair share of “bitch work”, don’t be afraid to speak to those above you about what you want to focus on, or take away from the internship. Wasting hours refreshing your emails and pinning unachievable cake recipes on Pinterest isn’t fun; and I love Pinterest. Rather chat to someone about some extra projects you could help out with. Try keep as busy as possible for the majority of your work day. But if you just genuinely have no work, I’m hugely sorry. Maybe write a blog post about the “life of an intern” to fill some time.
I’ve learnt so many valuable things in my few months as an intern and I would recommend it to almost everyone. It’s given me a stronger sense of direction in where I want to go in my career, as well as where I DEFINITELY don’t want to go. But thats why the good and bad experiences that come with interning are both helpful at the end of the day. Although, there have been days when I haven’t exactly loved being an intern, its been an enormous learning curve and has been an extremely useful stepping stone between university and full-time work life. If you’re considering taking up an internship somewhere, I would highly advise you to. You’ll soon realise through your experience, that you gain so much from your time there than a simple reference on your CV.