5 things I'm learning as an intern

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5 Things I'm Learning As An Intern

Last summer, I began my very first internship in public relations. As my first dip into the real world of work, I was understandably nervous and excited, a little unsure of what to expect. I'm now onto my fourth as a Marketing Assistant, based in a lovely little office in Southampton which I work for on a part-time basis. I shall give my thoughts on my experiences so far!

1. Learn to love the office environment
The environment of each office I've worked for so far has been noticeably different, save for a few typical characteristics. This depends on factors such as office size, the age demographics of the team, and how the varying levels of employees are dispersed around the office. Some people don't enjoy the office environment, but I've so far found my experiences quite sociable and I love occasionally having a natter whilst everyone cracks on with work.

The aspect I've liked about the layouts is that there is often no hierarchy within teams. I was often sat next to Account Directors or even Managing Directors, who would ask me questions just like any other colleague. Be sure to spend time getting to know people and building relationships with them, you never know what could come of it!

2. Get used to eating at your desk
This was actually the part I found hardest to adjust to about office life - most people like to eat at their desk despite sitting there 7 hours a day at least! When I'm in student mode, I like to take a walk about, get away from my desk and rest my eyes a little. After seeing a cool little eating area in one place, I naively asked "Oh so is this where you guys eat lunch?". Apparently I was completely barking up the wrong tree! They preceded to reply "Oh no! That place is for our meetings." I felt slightly silly.

I eventually adjusted to the idea, but each lunch break I try and make sure I head outside for fresh air and do something different to keep the brain active and the give the eyes a rest.

3. Your level of responbility will vary
In some companies I had lots to get on with and lots of my own projects to work on, which I have loved, others not so much and this was a humbling lesson to say the least. The nature of some PR companies and their clients meant that I sometimes couldn't get involved as much as I would've liked to, which often left me feeling a little helpless and annoying for often asking for things to do. In others however, I was put straight in at the deep end and I fit into the team seamlessly.

At the end of the day, there are always less interesting days than others, because the nature of tasks available varied so much. I learnt not to take this personally, and that whatever task I did for all companies was always highly appreciated!

4. You are part of the team
My experience of belonging at each place has been varied, in terms of how much I felt part of the team. Though each company had such lovely and friendly people, sometimes the size of the company itself and the separate teams often determined how much I felt I belonged and that I was included in the process. In some places, I felt much more like an intern than in others. However, in others I was invited to lunch and evenings with the rest of the company!

Again, this often corresponded to age demographics - I often got on better with people around me who were closer to my age as I could establish quickly things in common. I would also say be prepared for office banter as I was more than ready to partake in this after a few days!

5. Say yes to every opportunity
There were a few aspects of PR that scared me at the beginning. Using the phone was by far the worst! I was talking to real, actual journalists. Enough to make you want to faint a little. But a week into my first internship, I gained coverage. And then some more. And then I wrote my own blog post for the company blog (you can read it here)! In short, I competely surprised myself by accomplishing so much more than I expected to be doing, and how much the company wanted me to get involved with.

There will always be a few aspects of an internship that give you the heebie-jeebies to do for the first time, but you may end up doing so much more for the company than you think! Being open-minded and keen to learn will only impress your employers more, so go for any opportunities they offer you, and take as much as you can from the experience!

I would say overall that my experiences as an intern have been incredibly positive, and I've learnt so much in the process (more than just superb tea and coffee-making skills!). I am more confident about my future post-graduation even if the job market is super competitive right now. What lessons have you learnt from interning or work experience?

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2 comments

  1. Totally agree with your points here. I´ve been also very lucky that I´ve had only great internship experiences so far. And I never had to make coffee once in any of them! I´d definitely say that if you´re having less to do it´s good to go & ask for more work. It shows that you´re engaged in the work you´re doing. You´re there to learn after all & not just sit at your desk and do nothing.
    xx Lisa | Following Lisa

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  2. I agree with every points you had. Internship makes great experiences

    www.extraodiary.com

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