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: Moving

To sit here and pretend like moving doesn’t put me in a complete panic would be a total lie. I’m currently sitting in my new Charlotte apartment writing this and frankly, I am freaking out. As happy and excited I am for the future the initial thoughts/moves of moving is scary. I uplifted from a place that I didn’t consider home but still had a really large impact in my life. The relationships, the people, the lessons, all of it shaped me into the woman I am today. To think I have to start this all over in a new city is somewhat terrifying. Greensboro was where some of the most painful things happened to me and I can only imagine the types of challenges I am going to face in a brand new city.

I write this during a time where I know a lot of people are going through this too. Trust me, you’re not alone. Whether you’re moving an hour away or 100 miles away, moving is really intimidating but what’s helped me is knowing that the people in my life have done this before. My parents, for example, moved from Iran when they were in their late teens, didn’t know much English, and had to figure out a brand new culture. Also, they didn’t have social media or facetime like we do so they couldn’t talk to their parents or family as easily. I can only imagine their level of anxiety they must have felt during that.

It offered me comfort thinking about that during one of the last nights in Greensboro. I was sitting with myself, with a candle lit, and just prayed. I spoke to God about a lot of things but the common theme was: I’m doubting myself if I am doing the right thing and I need some guidance. I promise it was a lot more in depth but that’s the jist of it.

I thought about the people before me who did this and were able to build the life I have for me and my brother. I use this as fuel for the passion inside of me because I know there are going to be challenging obstacles but they will lead to a better future for myself and my future family. I feel called to do some really amazing things and I am putting that out into the universe and internet so it’s going to happen. My parents and aunts/uncles did this so why can’t I? Also, people move to new places all the time and do just fine. This is apart of being an adult. It’s different that’s why it’s scary. The newness of a situation can scare us the most. There isn’t anything actually scary about moving or settling in. What’s scary is the fact that it’s new. Knowing that makes everything less awful. Sometimes the things that are new to us can cause us the most stress. But think about it, the tasks that were new to us when we were younger are so natural to us now. Think about the time you learned to ride a bike, or jumped off a diving board, or even presented in front of a class. The more you do it the less the new stuff scares you. But again, it’s totally valid to feel scared or overwhelmed. It’s intense. So I’m here with you and I totally get it.

This week also was really hard because 8 months ago on September 3rd, 2017 my best friend Tony committed suicide. Knowing he’d be out of the military in June hurts because he and I always spoke about being together again. Tony was a brother to me so the third of the month is always especially hard. Not to mention I was moving, packing, and was all over the place. I was there the day Tony left for basic training.

Leading up the actual moving date I wasn’t as anxious or as sad as I thought I’d be. Again, in this What I’ve Learned From: April I speak openly about what this past month taught me and so far, I am learning that May is going to be a serious transition month. A lot of people around me are going through it too which is comforting. Graduation and new internships have been the common theme around me. Some of my friends can handle moving so well and I envy them but for me, it’s hard because this is whole new city with a new set of challenges. I hope to look back at this in 6 months and see that it wasn’t as bad as I think it is.

I’m really focusing my energy on the good ahead but it’s hard not to think about the people you leave behind. I was always super excited about leaving Greensboro and starting over but now that it’s actually happening. It’s new for me and new can be scary. 

I also need to remind myself that I am not on the most conventional path. I’m a junior, in a brand new city, doing classes online, working for a consulting company, working as an intern with one of the largest banks in the whole world, and I’m working on a brand. I don’t need a cookie or a sticker and I’m not saying this to brag but my path is no way conventional. Most people don’t just get up and leave in the middle of undergrad to a new city and do all of this stuff.

I’m not special but what I am doing is different. Or at least different from what has been around me. My immigrant parents always valued education. Education. Education. Education. It’s been a mantra that has been beaten into me since I was a kid. It took for me to leave and go to college to really understand that I can still graduate AND have other passion projects or jobs I am really interested in. I never want to be one of those people that work 20 years at a job they hate. Why would I? That’s such a waste. Thankfully, I love my major and the field I’m in so whatever position I do end up in post-grad will be something I thoroughly enjoy. Will my degree be the reason I get that job? God, I hope not because I feel like the piece of paper we get after 4 or 5 years of school just gives us the credibility to learn in that new job. I can write a whole post on this topic alone but I am getting a bit off topic.

I apologize in advance for the casual tone of this whole post but I’m really trying to get whoever is listening to hear that if your path is unconventional, it’s okay and if you’re freaking out like I am, it’s normal because it’s different. Again, different is different. It’s not good or bad. It just is. If you feel lonely while you’re moving, I hear you. 

Trusting myself and the choices I made makes me realize that I am doing the right thing and I have to be okay with some of the consequences that come with deciding to move too.

Happy Wednesday!