Intern Help Guide Week 7: Interning FAQs ❓

A couple of weeks ago, I asked on my social media (@tkhoub + @isanyonereallylistening) what burning questions people had about internships. I wanted to take the time to answer them in this intern help guide week 7 that I think would benefit you guys through into your internship.

I am a few weeks off on this series because my internship has been super demanding, I’ve been moving, and just a lot has been happening in my personal life. Also, I did a complete rebranding. A post on that is coming very shortly.

If you are new to this series on my blog, hello and welcome. I curated this intern help guide to help anyone going through an internship right now. This is made by an intern for other interns. I have interned in the fin-tech, start-up, and corporate space for the past few years.

Below you will find some of my previous posts about my internship experience. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Intern Help Guide Week 6: Networking 

Intern Help Guide Week 5 👩🏽‍💻 Soft Skills They Don’t Tell You About

Intern Help Guide Week 4 🤷🏽‍♀️ Is a “work-life balance” achievable?

Intern Help Guide Week 2-3 ⚡️ Things Get Easier

“When should people start looking and applying to internships?”

I’m not a recruiter or hiring manager so every company looks different. Most companies like to start their hiring process EARLY, like, August early. I typically start looking for 10-15 companies I am interested in learning more about a week into my school semester. I have applied to companies who don’t start looking to hire interns until January. But a good time frame to start is August-October. Decisions usually get sent out before or during the holidays. Look for internships based on the role, not the company itself. There are amazing companies out there that may not be the right fit for you. You want to consider the role, the company’s culture/mission, the location, compensation. Have an idea of a role then look at different companies that provide that. It may be the big names or it may not be. Don’t limit yourself because it’s all about getting that real-world experience.

“What is the best way to stand out in an internship?”

Come into your internship ready to learn and grow. Showing genuine interest in your team and work will really help you stand out. Being curious to learn new things, meet new people, and networking with other people in the company shows your passion for the work that you’re doing. Not every aspect of the role is going to be fun. That’s true with anything. You won’t like every class but it’s important to keep in mind that you are here for 10-12 weeks. Make a lasting impression. Be present, be adaptable, and be teachable. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. You are in a professional environment but you can still be an individual. You come to the table with a fresh set of eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re lost.

“What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an intern?”

I think one of the things I have been struggling with is feeling like I have to know it all. I don’t want to look dumb or incapable of doing something but there is a lot of new stuff that I know nothing about. There are some expectations your managers have but they do not expect you to know everything right off the bat. Knowing that you will make mistakes and are there to learn has really helped me ground myself. Be open to learning new things. I faced an imposter syndrome too. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be here and that someone else who is smarter or goes to an Ivy league school deserves this more than I do. I had to take a second to identify what I can add. But remember, you are there for a reason. There’s a reason they picked you and be appreciative of every learning moment you get to experience.  You deserve to be in this role and you are doing great.

“I did an internship. Now what?”

To be completely honest this is what I think about a lot. Take time to reflect on the entire experience. What did you learn from this? How did you grow? What did it teach you? and thinking about how you can apply it back to your role as a student or in your next job? You learn about what you like and don’t like about role as you go through the entire experience. Figure out if you see yourself working in that company or a similar role. Apply that awareness when looking at next internships or opportunities. After your internship, maintain contact with some of the people that really stuck out to you. Connect with them on LinkedIn so you know where they’re going and they can see you too

“How do I remain productive when things get boring?” 

Like I said above, you won’t always love what you do. But take every opportunity (yes, even the boring ones) as a chance to learn something. You’re there for a limited time so tough it out. If you consistently aren’t given work you are excited about, have a conversation with your manager of some of the expectations you had going into the internship and some of the areas you want to explore. I’ve been given work where I had to pull data from jumbled up files. It was super tedious, boring, and frustrating but it’s apart of the job. With any role or task, there will be things you won’t enjoy. You’re an intern so you’ll be given “intern” work. People will send you stuff that seems boring or useless but do the work the best way you know how to. If you already have a lot on your plate be honest and say something like “Thank you for considering me for this task, however, I am working on x, y, and z and I need to finish this first”. Learning how to manage your time effectively will help balance your work.

I hope you found this interesting. I will be going on Instagram Live very soon to talk more about these questions and answer any others that you may have.

What I’ve Learned From The Last 6 Months

The first 6 months and your next 6 months will not be the same. We are now in July which means we are in the second half of 2018 so you will face a new series of challenges, blessings, and obstacles that will look different.  You choose to have that difference be a “good different” or “a bad different”. Only you have the power to do that. One of the best feelings is when you realize how much power you have in your own life to do the things you want to do.

I usually do a “What I’ve Learned From: [Month]” but considering now that we are halfway through the year I wanted to take the time to reflect on the first half of 2018. I hope you all can learn from some of the things I have learned these past few months.

I knew 2018 was going to be a hard year but I’ve grown so much because of it. Last year had nothing on the growth I’ve had in the past 6 months alone. Not all of that growth has been good. There have been dark times and a lot of nights where I kept asking “Why?”. I know this year was hard for a lot of people and I’m in awe how some people can handle the things life throws at them. I’m truly inspired by that. I love seeing the good in people come out in times of adversity. I saw that within myself too.

I told myself that 2018 was going to be a selfish year for me. I’m turning 21 in a couple of weeks and I also launched my brand + platform on January 17 of this year. 1/17/2018. I’ve seen myself grow throughout my platform in so many ways and I think my platform is a really good representation of where my headspace is at. It hasn’t been in the most positive places and due to some traumatic experiences, I found myself desperately needing myself more and more. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to save me. I was in a really toxic place. I struggled with an eating disorder which had severe impacts on my overall health. I wasn’t healthy at the time but I have come a long way since. My relationship with food is steadily improving because I stopped punishing myself for things that had nothing to do with me to begin with.

Learning how to take care of myself

I’ve learned what taking care of yourself looks like and how valuable peace, energy, and light is in my life. I spend a lot of my time focusing on my own peace and protecting that because I’ve seen myself in a place where I wasn’t doing that. I wasn’t giving myself the love and energy I was giving other people. I think it’s easy to look outwards for happiness, love, and validation but when I catch myself doing that I always ask myself “Am I providing that for myself first?”. That behavior is something I’ve practiced over time.

A lot of the self-love and me taking care of myself was new to me so I didn’t what it looked like. I had to make the conscious choice to take care of myself every single day.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, so far, is you have to take care of yourself before you do anything. I wasn’t a good friend, a good partner, a good energy to those I cared about because I didn’t know how to properly take care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It really affected a lot of my relationships around me and my health too.

You don’t really ever get taught to do that. I don’t we teach how to take care of yourself in a way that’s deeper than the surface level things like face masks, relaxing, etc. We focus so much on being stable financially and in our careers but never take a step back to look at the person who has to go through this. In order to go through anything, you have to be okay with yourself first. Before I hated to be alone and now I value my independence so much more because I know that only I can offer that peace of mind in life.

The Newness

The first 6 months of this year have been some of my darkest days and a lot of new transitions. I’m learning that your early 20s are some of the hardest times because you are in between being a real adult and still being a teenager. There are so many firsts that happen to a lot of us during this time that can be overwhelming. Your first move, your first real job, your first big heartbreak, the first bill you have to start paying. Whatever it is, it’s new for us. But the new isn’t impossible, it’s just unfamiliar which can be scary. It was for me. I’ve learned that once things become more of a practice they do become a lot easier. It takes time but it’s a valuable time of learning.

Moving to a new city by myself was a lot more lonely than I ever anticipated. I am also in a new role in a completely different company. I’ve been sharing my internship help guide for all of you to benefit from it and go through this together.

What I’ve done to help myself with the newness is to take a step back, look at it for what it is, and be grateful for it all. I think about how lucky I am to have these opportunities to do what I am empowered to do. Even when I am overwhelmed, I thank God for everything because I know that He is shaping me to be the woman I am supposed to be. So of course, it’s going to be a little difficult.

Relationships

Let’s get a little personal… If you have been reading my content for awhile, you know that one of the last relationships I was in wasn’t very healthy.  I fell into an awful mental cycle that I have since pulled myself out of. I wasn’t taking care of myself.

There are things that I still battle daily to overcome it but you can’t rush the healing process. I am also a very forgiving person so despite what’s happened I chose to forgive and move past what happened. I didn’t want to carry any animosity with me because it would have bled into other aspects of my life. I do still love this person and will continue to have love for this person despite how much it affected me.

With other relationships, I’ve realized that sometimes taking the time to work on yourself before you can even commit to anyone else. It’s a working progress and something I try to be mindful of every single day. This goes back to being honest with yourself in order to find peace in what you do and who you want to do it with. Take accountability when you mess up, if you want something just go do it, and don’t take any of the growing process for granted.

I’ve also given myself the permission to take time away from certain circumstances. I need to keep everything and everyone at an arm’s length before I welcome them back into my circle or space. Everyone you meet comes with their own energy, their own conditioning, and I think it’s perfectly okay to say “Hey, I don’t want to have this in my life right now while I learn to figure some things out on my own”. You need to communicate that to those around you if you need the space to process the chaos in your world. I think it’s perfectly healthy to do that. The people around you will want to help and support you but somethings you need to digest at your own pace. They may not understand but if you need to do it for yourself, they’ll have to accept it.

My Brand Baby

I love talking about this because this is a place where I can really be myself. My brand, my platform, my social media is really important to me. Some people may think it’s superficial or may not be sustainable however I feel like I am being called to share my stories with you all. The whole development of building a brand is so much more than people think. You are your own boss so you have to keep yourself accountable and motivated to do whatever it is. Whether it be creating social media templates or reaching out to brands, you have to stay on it. I get to create things that reflect me in a way that engages people. I don’t need 1000 followers who don’t engage with my content. I’d much rather have a few who are really listening to offer feedback and show support. I love hearing from you guys and talking to you all.

I’d like to think that my brand has been successful in the past 6 months since it’s conception. I started it because I wanted to express myself to people who felt like no one was listening to them. I get to be myself: authentically and organically. ALSO, it’s a creative outlet for me. There is so much that goes into social media behind just posting. Now, there is a new social media industry that wasn’t there before. There are so many jobs that got created because bloggers and influencers took a leap of faith to share their thoughts with the world. This industry may seem competitive but I don’t really believe in that word. I think there is so much out there already that people can connect to and just because you connect with one person doesn’t mean you don’t connect with other people. It’s created a community of creators who want to support one another. I know there are some snakes out there but so far, I’ve met some of the most incredible girl bosses because of my platform.

It’s something that I have worked a lot on and put a lot of energy into so I protect it like it’s my own. You all will see a new face of my brand very soon and I am so excited. I get to evolve with Is Anyone Really Listening? Again, this speaks back to the self-power.

Intern Help Guide Week 2-3 ⚡️ Things Get Easier

So by week 2 and 3, you will have a better hang of things. You’ll really see who is on your team, have a better idea of what you’re doing, and things will start to make sense. Some of those crazy acronyms will start clicking and you’ll have a lot of “OH I KNOW WHAT THAT IS” moments. Safe to say, I still get lost on my floor LOL.

My week 3 was jam-packed with this thing called PI Planning. Program Increment planning is basically a two-day planning meeting for the next quarter. This is done within an Agile. There is a lot of things that go into it. From logistical stuff to more of the in-depth planning. If your organization follows Agile, which is basically a practice of business to make teams and tasks run more efficiently, you’ll most likely do this. To all the business people: my definition of Agile is broad so don’t come for me LOL.

I will go into a post talking more about Agile but just know that it’s a business practice a lot of companies are switching to in the technology world because of how fast and efficient it can make teams. Technology is being developed at a record fast rate and the business needs to find a way to manage it: Agile. The idea of open floor plans and no cubicles is also the result of Agile.

I learned a lot during that time. It was a really interesting experience to see how all the different tasks came together and how they all related to one another. There are so many teams that depend on another. It’s a crazy experience for sure. I am in sponge mode and took it all in. It was cool to see how everything we were talking about fit into the grand scheme of things. Most people find this stuff boring but I love to see how people work.

Week 2

Week 2 is a great time for you to sit and have your 1:1. Your 1:1 can be with your mentor or manager. Anyone who can give you feedback on your performance, outline your goals, and address any questions or concerns. I schedule mine every two weeks. Feedback is super important no matter where you are in your career. Even executives get feedback. 1:1’s is your time to sit with your manager and talk about YOU. Your internship is your place to learn. This will give you an opportunity to see what you’re doing well and not so well.

  • They shouldn’t be more than 1 hour. 30 minutes is a good time frame.
  • Be prepared. Go in with questions, concerns, or thoughts about your performance.
  • Ask: what can I do to better support the team? what can I do to improve myself in this area? What advice would you give for _________? Who would you recommend I sit and grab coffee with>
  • Set your goals early. If you are in a technical role, mix it between technical and non-technical skills. Soft skills matter too. You should have 5-7 goals for your internship. At the end of your internship, you should have a few things you can take back with you to school or in another job.
    • For example, I want to improve my confidence in speaking to people in executive positions or I want to develop strong relationships within the company

You may hear some stuff you may not like. Don’t take it personally and ask how you can improve. If they say you’re doing great and you don’t anything to improve on, ask them how you can support your team better. There is always something that can be improved on.

Week 3

By week 3 you’ll have a pretty clear idea of how the rest of your summer will look like. You are almost at that halfway mark, YAY!!!! ⭐🍾🔥 Can you believe how fast it’s going?

  • Set up time with other people from different teams to really get to know the company but make sure it doesn’t interfere with your work. Ask the people on your team to see who they would recommend you to meet with. It can be your business partners, engineers, analysts, anyone. 30 mins for coffee or a lunch is fine.
  • Great a timeline of your project, what needs to get done, and when. You have deliverables to meet by the end of your internship. Make sure the right questions are being asked
  • The end of week 3 and around week 4 you’ll start to see where you fit within the company. You won’t have to give a response right away but ideally, you’ll know whether or not you want to come back to this company as a full time or returning intern. Be honest with yourself. Does this job or this company speak to what you stand for? Is the work fulfilling?  Sometimes the team may not be the team for you but the company is. There’s no rush in figuring that out but you should start thinking about it.

I hope all of your internships are going well. I heard a lot of positive feedback from the first week and I am so glad I get to share my experiences with you all. Thank you to everyone listening. I love hearing from you guys on Instagram. If you don’t already, please follow me @tkhoub for more Is Anyone Really Listening?

Intern Help Guide Week 1 💪🏽 How To Get The Most Out Of Your Internship

This new series on my blog is going to share some helpful insights into making the most out of your internship experience. Internships are an amazing opportunity for you to get real-world, hands-on experience in the area you’re studying or interested to study. They are also considered your 10-week interview for the company you’re working for. It’s the company’s way of seeing if you’d make a good fit and also for you to see if you’d want to work there. Companies typically will send an offer to come back or a full-time job within 2-6 weeks after your internship is over but every organization is different. I am going to start this series on my blog to share my insights on my internship. These insights do not include any sensitive company information and only reflect my opinions, observations, and insights.

I’ve had 3 internships so far and a handful of other jobs so I’m pulling in insight from those experiences as well. I’ve worked in fin-tech/the financial services, consulting, and technology but my understanding of internships can be applied to any industry.

Week 1 Guide: Tips and Tricks to Master Your Internship 

Internships can be overwhelming. You walk in not knowing anything, not knowing anyone, and will probably get lost. It’s like the adult version of the first day of school. But congrats if you secured a solid internship! This is huge and important so congrats. Keep in mind everyone’s experiences are different so my advice and insight is intended to help you. If you have anything that I may have missed, comment down below I’d love to hear from you.

Whether this is your very first internship or you’re an intern pro, there’s always room to grow and learn more.

  • For the first few weeks, be a sponge. Absorb as much as you can and LISTEN.
  • You won’t know everything and that’s okay. Honestly, you won’t know anything but again that’s perfectly okay because no one expects you to know everything.
  • Dress professionally but comfortably. I made the mistake this week to break in new heels on my first real day of work. My feet are still screaming. You want to make a good impression and dress presentable but be practical. I wear slides to work and put my heels on in the car. Being comfortable will make you feel better and make you look a lot more presentable. Even if your team is a bit more lax, dress business casual.
  • Bring a notepad or journal with you everywhere. If you hear something you don’t know, jot it down and ask the question later. Keep track of your tasks, people on your team, take notes, etc. It’s great to have and taking notes helps keep you engaged.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t know, ask. But keep in mind people are super busy but are willing to help you. Use Google to your advantage. Most internship programs will have a mentor system so you can always reach out to your mentor to ask the “how”/”what” questions.
  • Finding a routine that works for you can be hard. Waking up at 6 am, working a whole 8-hour shift, working out, meal prep, social life, self-care, all of that will somehow need to fit into a 24-hour timeframe. If you go from staying up late and waking up at 10 am like I did, you are in for a rude awakening. It’s going to take awhile to get used to a routine that makes sense for YOU. Some of my fellow interns can wake up super early and workout, good for them but I can’t. I’m sure I could but I don’t want to. I like my sleep. But be patient and try to figure out what looks the best for you. Be flexible and be open to adjusting. It’s not going to be easy at first but it’ll click within the first 1-2 weeks.
  • Schedule 1:1’s with your manager every two weeks. Feedback is super important and if you’re in a 10-week internship it’ll go by fast. You want to set up times with your boss or whoever can accurately give you feedback on your performance. This will help the learning experience and also gives you a chance to build a relationship with the people you work with.
  • Shadow someone on your team that does what you might be working on. Sit with them for an hour or two (if they are willing or have time) and be like “hey, I was wondering if I can see how you organize or what things you use” or “Hey I’m interested in learning more about x,y, and z. Can I shadow you for an hour to learn more about it?”
  • When you get home and a topic/concept is confusing, do some research. You shouldn’t expect the company you’re working for to teach you everything. You want to do as much research on your own to be prepared. Google, UDemy, Youtube have a bunch of free resources for you to dive into and get a good understanding of things that you might be confused about.
  • If you’re overwhelmed– trust me, everyone else is too. You’re not alone. Everything is new and new can be intimidating. Lean into what you don’t know and be honest with yourself. It’s okay if you don’t know something, you aren’t expected to. You’re new to the job. People are a lot more understanding than you think.
  • Use every opportunity that may be intimidating as an opportunity to learn something new. Be invested in the 10 weeks you’re there. You might be at this company for only a short amount of time so use their resources as much as possible to enrich your professional life.

These are some of the things to keep in mind as you start your new internship. Again, congrats! This is a big deal and you should be really proud of yourself. Companies see THOUSANDS of applicants and YOU got chosen. Use your time as best as you can and don’t be too pressured to know everything. You won’t and that’s okay. You’re there to learn. It’s a learning-ship. LOL I tried.

I will be sharing my insights every week so keep coming back. We can go through this together 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽

What I’ve Learned From: May

I knew this was going to go by fast. I think I mentioned this in one of my older posts but I take this time to reflect on the past month because it’s my way of slowing down and being intentional about my growth.

What I like to do, now that it’s a series on my blog, is I like to read what I learned from before. I think the biggest takeaway between April and May is: learn to embrace what’s uncomfortable and unknown but always remain grounded in who you are and the path you’re on. 

A lot of things happened in May. Well first, I moved which is honestly a lonely experience. I talk about it more in this post. Moving, in a nutshell, is lonely. I am so used to having all of my close friends within a few miles of me. I don’t have that luxury anymore and honestly, it’s been hard for me. It’s helped me grow but its unknown and uncomfortable but things are getting easier. I think it’s testing my patience, for sure. It’s helped that I travel to see my friends and my person or they come here. My childhood best friend even came to visit one weekend so it’s been easier because of that. But during the week, it’s been necessary TK time.

A lot of newness this month. I’ve learned to embrace it and absorb it. I moved May 5th. I write this on June 3rd, the day before I start my internship (big girl job, woot woot). So I’ve almost been here a month and it’s gone by SO fast.

I like exploring cities and I’ve gotten more comfortable putting myself out there. Even though I am a pretty extroverted person I get so much anxiety walking up to people and starting conversations with them. But when you’re new somewhere and you aren’t interacting with new people everyday you need to put yourself out there and make friends.

I think I’ve realized that there are some things and people that need to stay in your past. You need to be able to close a chapter and just move forward. It takes a lot of strength to remain present but it’s always for the best. People will come and go but you can’t settle for what you feel is wrong. This is the whole idea around being grounded in who you are.

I’ve sat down and talked to a lot of new faces this month. It’s scary and intimidating because a lot of these people were either older than me, smarter than me, more experienced than me. I fell into this trap of thinking that I wasn’t good enough to even sit and talk to them when in fact, I was I just needed to trust that I deserved to be there. I decided that instead of trying to gain something specific I would just open my ears and mind to what they had to say. But I’ve learned so much from listening. Is Anyone Really Listening? Yeah, I am. I think my biggest goal was to become more confident in what I’m doing. You need to trust that the path you’re on, despite what everyone elses may look like, fits your goals and ambitions.

I’m lucky to have someone close to me (cough cough Jason) who unconditionally supports what I do and who I am. I’ve never really had that before. What he’s taught me is that there is no one that will trust in your ability more than yourself. I see that reflected in everything he does. He is so grounded in who he is and what he’s doing it makes me want to have that level of security within myself.  He has a side hustle like I do. It’s inspiring to see someone work so hard at their craft and also show so much support for yours. It’s been one of the big reasons why I feel so grounded because I know what I am doing is great and requires a lot of work so I don’t need to explain that to someone. I can go on and on about how amazing of a person he is but seriously, having someone in your corner no matter how much you pride yourself on being independent, matters. We all want to be seen, heard, and understood. He does that and beyond.

I always say that the most unconventional paths lead to a lot of amazing lessons. This is so true. I’m slowly getting out of my comfort zone in a way that I haven’t been used to in the past. Embracing the newness of a new job, city, or even just a new mindset makes you evolve as a person. It’s SCARY but necessary. I’ve done a lot of amazing things towards my professional career goals this month.

Some highlights

The Steminist Campaign
Taking on a new client
Learning more about Charlotte’s identity, culture, and people.
I cut my hair and I feel like a whole new person.
I attended Charlotte’s 30 Under 30 Event
Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to be okay with it
Staying true to what I feel is right for me in this moment.
Actively practicing self-care.