What Every New Intern Should Always Remember

Since I had my first internship during the summer going into my junior year, I must say that I have really learned a lot. Looking back, there are definitely some things I wish I would have known before jumping into my first internship. In hopes of helping someone who may be getting ready to take on their first internship, I have written some words of advice that I think everyone should know before entering the workplace as an intern.


Don’t be afraid to take initiative

When you first start an internship, don’t feel like you need to constantly wait for your supervisor or boss to assign you your next task or assignment. Your ability to find things that need to be done and think creatively will make you stand out from others in the workplace. Most importantly, it’s a much better way to manage your own time. Your supervisor is most likely very busy on a regular basis and will appreciate you being proactive rather than waiting on him and her to tell you what to do next.

Ask questions

As an intern, asking questions can feel a little taboo at first. It can also be very intimidating. What you need to realize is that your supervisor or boss is there to help you. Asking questions will allow you, as an intern, to get the job done the correct way on a regular basis. Your boss or supervisor would much rather you ask him or her multiple questions throughout the day than for you to complete a task that is not line with their expectations.

Get to know your co-workers

Getting to know people higher up in your organization can be very intimidating, maybe even feel a little bit awkward. Being so low on the totem pole requires you to really go out of your way to get to know others in your workplace. According to Alexander Kjerulf, an international author and speaker on happiness at work, “Socializing with your coworkers is essential for your career.” Don’t be afraid to ask someone out for coffee one day or ask someone if they want to grab lunch. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that most experienced professionals love to help out others from younger generations, especially if they work within the same industry.

I believe these three pieces of advice have made me a much better intern in my organization and I encourage others to take what I have said into account as well. As my senior year of college is quickly coming to an end, I can’t help but reflect on some of the amazing opportunities and experiences I have had while attending the University of Oregon. The people I have met and the endless opportunities that have been bestowed upon me these last couple of years cannot be taken for granted.

Tyler Horst


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6 Responses to What Every New Intern Should Always Remember

  1. You made some great points Tyler. I have also noticed that there can be times where there isn’t exactly a lot of your plate as an intern and I have felt hesitant to bother my busy supervisor about giving me another task. I have learned, kinda like you said, there is always something you can be doing. It is important to always be doing something productive. Also, asking questions and getting to know your co-workers absolutely shows you want to learn and care. Great Post!

  2. Ryan Delaney says:

    Tyler, I really enjoyed what you had to say about taking initiative. For many of us who are entering the workforce for the first time, our supervisors are our lifeline. I think it is incredibly important to take risks and not be afraid to try your hand at new work at the internship. If the team needs help with a concept for a campaign, don’t wait around for them to tell you to do something, research the client and provide any insight possible. Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts.


  3. hmaarchive says:

    This is a nice, quick summary for an intern or recent grad jumping into that first ‘professional’ role. In any industry and every company do these rules apply. Following this advice not only benefits you as a new professional, but also shows you if that company is the right fit for you. Every place is different, so chances are you’ll work for someone who prefers you not to bug them with questions or who gives you what looks like a five year-old’s Christmas list of thins to do- leaving you not much room to pick up on extra tasks. However, learning how to adapt in different environments will prepare you for the long run for when your turn comes to manage a new intern or employee.

  4. clairecolby says:

    These are great points, Tyler. I remember going into my first internship back in sophomore year and feeling like I should keep my head down and do my assigned work quietly, interacting with my boss as little as possible as to not bother her. But that was such a novice move. I think that taking initiative is an important point for first, second, or even third time interns because you’ll never have to chance to learn and take-on more without proving that you’re dedicated and up for the challenge. It’s also important for first-timers to understand that it’s better to ask for clarification than to make preventable mistakes.


  5. alliejhardy says:

    Great advice, Tyler! I think it’s important to be able to take initiative when you first start at a workplace. Sometimes supervisors are very busy and other times I think it doesn’t even cross their minds to give some work away because they are used to the high-pressure workplace. It’s also sometimes necessary to ask other coworkers if they need help with anything if your supervisor is too slammed to contact you.

  6. These are all great things to keep in mind during an internship. I agree that many people are too afraid to take initiative or speak up and ask questions when in reality its how we should be spending our time. Taking initiative and finding tasks to complete yourself will definitely help someone stand out during an internship.

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