Intern Diaries: Getting through the Learning Curve

As interns, we are placed in an interesting position; we want to make a good impression, but only have a short amount of time to do it. Often, we are given a project that is to be completed by the end of the internship and smaller tasks that are to be completed daily. It’s all good until you come across a problem that you don’t know how to solve or get feedback that what you worked on wasn’t up to par. I admit that I have been struggling with the latter. How do I learn everything that people who have been with the company for years know, in just a couple of weeks?

mY Struggle

I have been given daily tasks and because I don’t know the client as well as my team, it’s not as easy for me to make certain connections. However, instead of getting frustrated and letting my lack of knowledge affect my work ethic. After all, companies are looking for interns who can overcome that learning curve and go above and beyond in the position. But how do we do that?

wHAT TO DO

  • Look for patterns: If you’re in a client-facing industry, pay attention to the way the client likes things done. Some people prefer email, some prefer phone calls. What does your team typically do for them and how do they do it? If you’re not in a client-facing industry, pay attention to the way your company operates. Are there certain days of the week when things happen? For example, do company-wide meetings happen on Thursdays? Use Wednesday to write some preliminary notes so you know what’s going on.
  • Ask questions: I admit that I hate bothering people by asking questions, but it is always better to get clarification before you assume to do something. Once you start to get more comfortable, then feel free to make strategic decisions.
  • Be proactive: Once you learn those patterns and have asked for any clarification that you need, start being proactive. Don’t wait for them to ask you to do something if you already know they are going to ask for it.

How are your internships going so far? Let me know on twitter and Instagram by tagging me (@tiatamjam)!

 

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