What Does it Mean to Be an Intern?
For many students and recent graduates, an internship is simply a route to a full time career. Many companies hire interns with the intention of permanently hiring them within the company. Although a full-time position is the ultimate goal, internships should be taken advantage of for more reasons than a possible path to a full-time job.
The purpose of being an intern is to learn. It’s okay if you’re not an expert on the position or the company. Usually interns, especially first timers, are not expected to be experts. Take advantage of the opportunity and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more information you gain. Asking questions also shows your leaders that you are interested in the position and are excited about learning more. It’s also important to accept that you will make mistakes. Again, you are not expected to be an expert, and making mistakes is another form of learning. Take responsibility for the mistakes you make and learn from them.
Interns may or may not know what they want to do as a career. The best way to find out if you are right for a position or company is to test the waters. You’ll never know if you’re good at something until you try it out for a while. An internship is like a trial run in a specific position. If you know that position is right for you, make it known that you are interested in becoming a full-time employee. If you discover that maybe this is not the right path, then gain as much experience as possible and move on to something else. Talk to your leader or supervisor about shadowing. As an intern, you should have the flexibility to schedule time to shadow someone who is experienced. Shadowing can help you see what a normal day would be like working in a certain position. You should try to shadow different positions within the company as well as different levels. Shadowing someone who is higher up is a great way to see the possible growth opportunities.
Overall, being an intern should be an enjoyable experience. Relax and do the best that you can. Don’t stress over whether or not you’re going to get hired after the internship has ended. If you do your best work, and gain as much experience as possible, the time spent as an intern will be well worth it. If you take full advantage of the opportunity of an internship, you will know exactly what you want to do within the company or as a career in general, and you will know your goals for the future. The value of an internship depends on what you do with your time and the experience that you gain.