An Intern’s Guide For Maneuvering Through The Workplace

Congratulations! You have been selected for the intern position! You wowed them in the interview and spoke to how much of an asset you will be to the team. All the nights you wondered if your interview was enough finally fades away with one offer letter, one opportunity that could be the start of something greater. You anxiously wait for your first day while sharing the news with all your loved ones. Finally, the day has arrived; you wake up and look at your phone; it’s 8:00 a.m. Welcome to your first day! Are you nervous? Are you excited? The feeling of making a good impression begins to set in as you recite to yourself, “This is my opportunity and I will make the best of it!”

Let’s define an intern. The definition of an intern “is a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience.” Being an intern is not always the most glamorous position. We have all seen at least one movie about the intern that no one respects and must prove themselves to be considered an asset or contender. However, the beautiful thing about being an intern is that you are now a new resource to a team of people that already know what to expect from each other. Also, this internship is not one of “those” movies. Being an intern can feel intimidating! Here are six affirmations to help guide you and other interns as you maneuver through the workplace. Let’s get started!

1. Nerves are only feelings; they don’t define you.

Although feeling nervous can be overwhelming, it is a natural occurrence. Your nerves do not define who you are or how good you are at your position. Nerves only indicate that you are human and you are having a human experience of embarking on a new journey. A great way to combat nerves is to stay motivated and remember the things that inspire you. Your ideas are valuable!

2. Remember you are an asset!

Whether you are creative, an exceptional accountant, a supreme strategist or a marvelous marketer never forget before you were assigned the title of an intern, you identified as much more than that. The skill set that you acquired overtime is what made you stand out and shine during the interview. Also, you are now a part of the team, trust in your ability to bring quality work and ideas. Remember that you were hired for a reason!

3. Your voice is what got you the internship!

In addition to knowing how valuable you are it is imperative to remember that you must continue to believe in yourself. Interviews can be daunting; but this is what gives you the opportunity to be your most confident selves. You eloquently speak to your stronger qualities and why they need you! Take that confidence and allow it to be what carries you throughout the duration of your internship. Remember, your voice is what speaks to your drive, passion, and willingness to learn. Trust in your ideas and lead with the self-assurance that you are bringing a fresh perspective to the team. Your voice matters and should be heard!

4. Being a student is a part of the experience!

Understand that this can be challenging; especially when you are a part of a team of talented professionals that have been in the industry for years. However, remember that they, too, were students at some point. Being a student can bring out a sense of ‘imposter syndrome' and make you feel like you are not good at what you do. A great way to combat this feeling is remembering that aside from all of us being students at some point in life, being a student is what led you here. Whether you went to school for this profession or are self- taught, welcome the learning experience. Participate in every meeting as if you are in a classroom. Allow your colleagues to be your teachers who are there to help you succeed. Everything is a process. If you are not learning something, maybe you are not observing or listening.

5. Be patient with yourself!

As a student, having patience is crucial! At times, work can feel overwhelming; learning how to embrace each day as a new one will help ease the stress. Having patience with yourself is a great way to boost your confidence and promote mental health awareness. Remember, if there is anything you do not understand, do not hesitate to ask. Patience promotes proper preparation which builds self-assurance.

6. Make the best of your experience!

You received this opportunity. Allow yourself and your work to be seen, heard, and felt. Get excited for projects, speak up when you need clarity, make connections, and most importantly have fun! Refer to yourself as more than just an intern. You are an asset, a resource, a student, a creative, accountant, strategist, marketer, and most importantly, a newcomer: a person that has recently arrived in a place or joined a group.

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