Whether it’s your first or sixth internship, the mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement with a little bit of anxiousness haven’t gone away.
These are natural feelings; you’re starting a new job at a new company with new people working on projects that are most likely new to you. But don’t take this negatively because this is exactly what you will look forward to by the end of this read!
Here are a few things to look forward to starting your internship (from an internship veteran).
You will meet new people (a.k.a. networking)
Whether you are in person or virtual, there is no denying that you will be meeting and working with people. You will meet potential mentors, find yourself a role models, and ultimately make new friends. You may not even meet these people in person but the connections you make with them will feel just as genuine. Remember, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
You will learn a lot (like, a lot)
At the end of the day, an internship is all about experiencing the field, processes and problems in an industry. New tools, new projects, new perspective… it all comes with the job. This is a great opportunity to really explore the ins and outs of a field or industry of interest.
That being said, you are going to be exposed to information about all sorts of things right from day one but don’t let it sweep you away. I know how easy it is to feel lost or down when struggling all the time but this is part of the steep learning curve that comes with the job too. It takes time to understand the problem and tasks at hand. No one starts as a seasoned professional — and everyone has start somewhere. Your employer didn’t hire you expecting you to know everything.
Don’t forget that as an intern you can get away with stuff that your coworkers can’t. You get to ask a ton of questions and about anything at all. Mistakes, although they ought to be avoided, aren’t the be-all end-all because you are still learning the ropes and others will be watching over you. Take advantage of being early in your career and you’re guaranteed to learn a lot faster than you’d think.
You will see things you learned in class, in practice (or not)
Seeing the in class content applied in industry is a wonder in itself. “Wow, so this is where x is used” and “I didn’t know y could be applied here” are both thoughts that come to mind. Everything slowly starts to click and the gears start to turn too.
It is also common to think “What I learned in class was useless. They don’t even use it in industry!”. You then realize that you should put more effort into experiences outside of school.
You could also be trying an internship in a field/industry that isn’t even related to your study. That’s what happened to me! And this is okay because that is the point of internships.
You will get to reflect on your personal growth
This is my favourite part of any internship I’ve ever done: the post-internship reflection. When you have finished your term at your company, you look back and realize you likely did a lot more work than you had originally thought. You laugh about the things you struggled with when you started, you appreciate the people who helped you and you realize that now your brain is a few pounds heavier (or at least that’s what it feels like!) with all the knowledge and hopefully good memories from the experience.
An internship is both an experience which helps shape your character and career path, as well as an opportunity to learn more about an industry that interests you. You will learn so much about so many different things, including yourself.
As you go through your internship, remember to keep in mind that this is your growth opportunity and everything is a learning experience. Take it slow and enjoy your time exploring.
And by the way, congrats on landing your internship! 🎉