Interning for dummies

By Meg Scott 

My semester is shaping up to be quite different than the normal college student. Instead of being on campus in Oxford, I’m living in Cincinnati during the week as a marketing/event intern at a start-up company (name will remain anonymous). Even though I’m a junior, this is really my first “official” internship. With that said, I’ll give you a little background on the whole thing because it isn’t necessarily your typical internship…

First off, you might be confused how I’m doing an internship during the school week and not be taking classes… Well, I’m an interactive media studies major, and Miami offers something called The Digital Innovations program (that you should definitely check out). Basically, it is a program where professors who lead the program help you secure an internship in said city and you will be at this internship for the whole semester. However, since it is a Miami run program, it wouldn’t make sense to take a whole semester off from school completely. This is why I’m taking a total of 3 classes (9 hours) that are fulfilled throughout this internship in some ways like group projects, weekly company visits, and networking events. Kind of confusing to explain, but also kind of awesome.

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Anyways, I figured I’d share a few tips and things I’ve learned during my first month for anyone who is nervous to/about to embark on this whole internship journey.

Tip 1: Be friendly and make an effort

Trust me, I know getting into the office at 8:30am every day is not anyone’s idea of fun… but it’s important to put on a happy face and mingle with your co-workers. It can be awkward at first, but it makes the place feel more comfortable, and hey only good things can come out of having friends!

Tip 2: ASK QUESTIONS

I’ve recently become the queen of asking questions… like an absurd amount of questions down to the nitty-gritty details of a task. I’ve realized no one is going to get mad at you for making sure you’re doing something right. You might feel awkward and annoying at first, but they will appreciate it in the long run.

Tip 3: Never do nothing

One of the not so fun parts of being an intern is downtime… a lot of times your supervisors are super busy and can’t always give you something to do. And as tempting as it might be to just get your phone out and scroll through Instagram (yes I’ve done it), it’s important to at least try to do something productive at all times. It makes you look more professional, and you feel better about your day.

Tip 4: Over-do-it

Another important thing I learned is to always go the extra mile. *insert groans here* It might be a pain sometimes, but people will always appreciate and remember how helpful and hardworking you were.

Tip 5: Figure it out

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is that no one is going to hold my hand and walk me through this process, I have to take the initiative. This was incredibly frustrating and scary for me in a lot of instances because I felt clueless, but it became more and more comfortable for me to do things on my own, and I know learning to be independent will benefit me in the future.