Settling into the Internship

Well, I’m about three and a half weeks into my internship. Let me tell you—I absolutely did not belong in a classroom. For anyone feeling like school is a waste of time, pulling you every and each direction that you don’t care to go, understand that it all gets better and that it will all pay off.

I show up to work everyday at 8:30 a.m. at the latest and love getting to work. Each day is a new challenge, a new person to try and impress, a new task to try your hand at. I’ve got a phone with an extension, a collection of highlighters and Sharpies, and a copy of The Fact Checker’s Bible. I am the intern: socially awkward around my superiors and socially accepted by my fellow editorial interns.

It wasn’t all easy, though.

I shot out of the gates with a couple of fact checks, quick-hit writing, and a beer blog assignment. I thought that the rest of the term was going to be fast-paced fun, constantly running around the city tasting beers for the blog, calling sources to confirm facts, and finding stories around town for the next issue.

I pitched a couple of ideas, researched them, developed them, and came back with confidence. Sure enough, none of them got picked up. I even pitched a beer story for the beer issue. That one getting rejected kind of hurt.

It took a weekend of recovery to realize that I was, in fact, the intern. My generation, the “Millenials/Generation Y,” is always looking to be the best and striving for the ever-so-cliché “instant gratification.” I thought that if I started hot right off the bat, the world would be handed to me and I would get hired on with no questions.

After the weekend, I came back fully aware that I was the intern, and okay with that. I ampullquote actually doing work that, although a bit mundane at times, is absolutely important. I’m not even out of college yet—I’ve put in no time with this industry. So, yes I will gladly check over my superior’s work and make sure that their facts are straight. I’ll work with my editors and get a piece published. I will continue to show up at 8:30 a.m. and leave at 1:10. My assignments will continue to come in as early as possible.

There is so much to lose or gain from an internship. If I keep doing what I’m doing, we’re talking references, clips, and potentially a job. If I go the opposite, entitled route, throw all of that out of the window.

~Branden Andersen


About brandenandersen

Portland, Oregon
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10 Responses to Settling into the Internship

  1. kyliewray says:

    Great job Branden.

    I love reading your posts about how things are going at the magazine. It seems like our internships are so different, but the same. I definitely know what you mean about getting shot down, I recently decided to start expanding my skills and am spending one day at the central design desk for our office. I went down last Friday, ready for them to hand me a page to design and put together, instead, I ended up doing a lot of proofing and looking over the lead designer’s story. At first, I was a little upset. But now I’ve just realized that people trust me enough to proof, and so far I’ve gotten a really great contact in the designer that is so respected here.

    Great advice! Keep on convincing them you’re great!

  2. megmarieshea says:

    You have a definite gift in creating a picture of your day-to-day life at your internship. From this post, I felt like a fly on the wall. Even though we are working in different settings, I can see some similarities in how you are feeling and how I am feeling. I definitely reflect the typical Millennial as it appears you do too. I don’t know about you but I think not being there every single day all day gives me a good break and time to reflect on the situation as well. At the same time, I keep an optimistic and open mind that every thing I do now will somehow pay off in the future. That seems to keep me going. Keep your head up!

  3. littlebrittanyb says:

    Great post Branden!
    I feel like sometimes we forget that we can be shot down when we take off straight out of the gate. It’s a bit of a painful reality check that everyone in our generation seems to get at least once. I really like how you are still determined to come in early, stay late, and turn things in before the deadline. Sometimes being shot down makes us forget that those little gestures are important. You make an excellent point that despite doing the “mundane” things, you are actually going somewhere.

  4. I loved the post. I agree fully. Being the intern, you have to realize that you are just that, “the intern.” You can’t expect to be gods gift to the company — you have only just started! Sometimes you have to sit back, accept the boring but necessary tasks, and put in your time.

  5. lockerobster says:

    “I am the intern: socially awkward around my superiors and socially accepted by my fellow editorial interns.” Haha truer words have never been spoken. Maybe it’s just the natural timeline of an internship, but I’ve been feeling painfully aware of my intern status also. I just try to tell myself it is always tough starting at the bottom of the food chain, like we did as freshman in high school and college.

    Thanks for sharing a bit on your insecurity and realizations. It helps me remember that even though we are all in different companies, we are not alone in this experience,

  6. jackiemc90 says:

    It’s funny you just posted this today, but I’m feeling the “intern” feeling also, and starting to stress about the whole: what are we going to do in 5 weeks when this is over? Great advice in your post!

  7. Nick Smith says:

    Great advice Branden. I think it’s easy to forget that you’re actually in an internship, sometimes I forget myself. One of the hardest things to do it remember your place and stay in your pay grade. By doing so you can prove to your supervisors, and your coworkers, that you can work well as a member of a team.

  8. Summer Luu says:

    Branden, awesome motivation to keep doing great in your internship. Gives me more motivation to keep it up at my internship as well. I’m sorry your beer pitch got turned down and that you had a weekend to professionally recover but hey, we all have to start somewhere right? I think you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s always good. You’re definitely going to show to them that you’re committed and that’s what a company looks for–investment in the company itself. Without a doubt, you’ll show them and you’ll be rewarded, it’s all in time.

  9. andrewsch90 says:

    Branden, what a great post! It’s clear based on all of the comments that your experience clearly resonates with the rest of the cohort. Going from the seniors and leaders of campus to the “freshmen” of the professional world is a tough adjustment. After four years of college, I think we’re all eager to start making an impact at our internships. As you mentioned, patience and enthusiasm is key at this point in our careers.

  10. I really enjoyed reading your post Branden. I was struggling with this same thing last week at my internship, but remembering that this is an important step in the process of transitioning from college to the professional world is crucial. Hopefully we can remain focused and driven in our last few weeks and finish strong, with a job offer or a possible internship extension.

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