One month. Has it already been one whole month? One month since I moved to a new city? One month since I first began my internship at a non-profit in downtown Portland? When they say, “time flies”, it really does. In the past month I’ve been thrown into projects and given responsibilities that have taught me more than I could have learned in a basic classroom.
If I could sum up just three main lessons I’ve learned that have made my first 34 days at my internship count, they would be:
1. Do your research.
The research process should begin even before the initial interview. Knowing your facts about a company you may be working for not only increases your confidence but also impresses potential employers. But research doesn’t end there. Once hired it is important to know as much information about a company as possible prior to the first day. This was an essential step for me. Coming into a non-profit organization with no prior experience in the field was eye-opening. Researching the organization and similar organizations helped me feel prepared and comfortable in this new environment.
2. Be patient.
The first week at my internship was spent reading over documents and familiarizing myself with the company. I read page after page learning about all aspects and goals of the organization. It was tedious work, but in the end I saw that it was necessary. This patience is critical when starting any new internship or job.
3. Get comfortable.
As easy as it is to find comfort in your own personal bubble in an unfamiliar environment, don’t do it. Don’t be a hermit. Internships are about building relationships and establishing connections. In order to do this it’s vital to break down those walls. Invite a co-worker out for coffee, ask he or she if they have a project they’d like help working on or if they have helpful advice for a new employee. Stepping out of your comfort zone will be greatly beneficial in the long run and make your time at a company worthwhile.