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.

Self-Care Sunday: Anthony Bourdain

TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide, depression, mental health.

If you are triggered or might be triggered by any of these topics do not feel obligated to read this post, I understand. There are plenty of other posts that I am confident you can connect with. If you need someone to talk to, my email or dms are always open. Someone is really listening.

In the past week, two legends chose to leave our world. When it comes to suicide or sudden death, there is no good “why” and it can be hard to understand why someone would make the choice to end their own life. Suicide hits close to home for me. A friend of mine this past September took his own life. I’ve been candid in speaking about him on my platform. Tony was one of my best friends. I didn’t see it coming and I wish I knew. I miss him every single day and pray that his heart is at peace.

Rest in peace to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. There is so much that can be said about these two people. Kate Spade showed us that color and creativity can be a girls best accessory. Every time I unzip my Kate Spade wallet, I am reminded of her legacy and her impact. It pains me that her world wasn’t colorful

Anthony Bourdain used food, cuisine, and culture as the medium to show us that our global neighbors aren’t as different from us as we may think. My heart truly aches over the loss of these beautiful people. During the worst times of my eating disorder, Anthony Bourdain reminded me of my love and passion for global cuisine. He made the darkest parts of my struggle brighter.

This self-care Sunday is dedicated to them and to the millions of people who struggle with their own demons. Know that there is someone really listening. My email inbox is always open to anyone who wants to reach out. I will respond with open arms and I promise you are loved, I am here, and you are not alone. I promise that there is someone listening or who is willing to listen.

Data shows that in the months subsequent to celebrity suicides, suicide rates increase. Some people don’t feel comfortable talking to a hotline or a stranger but if you are going through this and feel like you have no one. There are people waiting for you to reach out. It takes a lot of courage to do so. So if you reach out to me or anyone or call this 1-800-273-8255 number, I am so thankful.

I want to point out that social media can be a toxic environment with anyone dealing with any level of a mental health issue. Social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives. We choose to put our happiest moments on there because we all want to be accepted and we all want to fit in somehow. It’s in our nature to have a sense of belonging to a group of people or someone. If you don’t find that in your physical community, there are millions of communities within reach by a few taps on a screen. So naturally, we are drawn to it. I catch myself doing this sometimes where I find myself posting a picture or a moment out of obligation. Since part of my job is to portray myself on social media, I feel like I have to always have it together when I don’t. I’m here to say that I wake up 99% of the time not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Sometimes I post things when I don’t feel the best about myself. I’ve even gone back to edit some instagram captions to point out the state I was in. I realized that I was being inauthentic when someone recently reached out to me and went “I love your page. You’re so positive”. I corrected them by saying “Thank you but I’m struggling right now. It’s not always positive”.

These celebrities who took their own lives should make us realize that no matter how successful you are or what your job is, you’re a human being and you are allowed to feel like the world is crumbling around you. They had all the resources at their fingertips but at the end of the day, but still made the choice to take their own lives. There are things all of us go to bed with and it can be overwhelming.

I think we need to live more authentically about the battles we go through because I feel like we’d be a lot more connected. I think our society is so polarized right now by political affiliation or these social identities that we forget the person we are judging is a human being too. We can’t wear these capes all by ourselves. We aren’t superheroes and even superheroes have weaknesses. I am so tired of this notion that we have to have it together all the time.

What saddens me about Anthony Bourdain is that he had the dream job: to eat, travel the world, and tell stories about forgotten places. When Bourdain had an episode of Iran I was so excited because finally, the world gets to see how amazing iranian cuisine is. It was like Anthony was enjoying the same bowl of Persian food I grew up. I felt connected to him. Other episodes of his made me more connected to the world around us. I felt a bit less alone. My cousin and I would sit and watch him while enjoying some amazing homecooked food. His authentic, creative, and unifying approach to storytelling reminded me why I love cuisine in the first place. The most communal moments happen when you can break bread with someone. His episode with Barack Obama was one of my favorites. Something about seeing the president of the United States sitting on a plastic stool in a foreign country made me so happy. Like I said before, Bourdain made food less intimidating for me. He tried pretty much everything and he was a scholar of culture. I always say food is the best vessel to experience culture and I am thankful to Anthony for showing us that.

We never knew. I think when you live on such a public stage you can’t come out and say you’re depressed. There are so many stigmas surrounded around mental health and the internet can be so mean. People will attack you for being human and until you are in their shoes you will never understand that pressure. We label people as crazy and until we can talk about mental health within our own communities and help one another, we can’t be surprised when people pass. I’m hopeful. It starts within our small communities. In the people we surround ourselves with. Checking in on a friend out of courtesy is useless. We should always make the time for our people so that when something is really happening they know someone is really listening.

As always, I am really listening. I never knew my brand name or the title of my blog could be such an important question. It’s becoming embedded into everything I do. Making sure that everyone around me or whoever is reading this feels connected in someway. This is my why. This is why I asked the question because it can feel like no one is. So I am.