The first few weeks of my internship have been filled with many new experiences, but the one that sticks out the most is a newfound sense of freedom and exploration. While I spend a good portion of my time in the office, it is also made very clear that I am not chained to my desk and am encouraged to go out into the field, interact with the community and find the stories that can have a real impact. Like I’ve heard so many times from journalism professors, you can only get so far by being an ‘armchair journalist.’ The best stories often come by chasing curiosities and putting yourself out there.
As I find myself on the cusp of the professional world, part of me is very much ready to put the label of ‘student’ behind me. I certainly won’t miss final exams or those long nights spent at Knight Library. However, as the weeks pass and I get more comfortable at my internship, I am coming to the realization that being a student never really ends. It just takes a new form.
To make the most of your internship you should first make yourself a student of the organization. Always be seeking new information, new perspectives and new experiences. For me personally, being a student of my organization has meant exploring outside of my comfort zone. It means writing a story on a topic I’ve never covered or inviting your new coworkers to grab coffee so you can get to know them.
I know from experience that a new job or internship can often come with a lot of insecurity and self-doubt. At the end of the day, you have to remind yourself that asking questions or being unsure isn’t a bad thing. After all, you are there to learn.
Be straightforward about what you want to learn. Ideally, your organization wants you to get the most out of the experience. Those 10 weeks will fly by and you don’t want to waste a second of it. If there is one thing I want to stress the most it would be to keep a sense of curiosity. Ask questions and be open to new experiences. This is your best opportunity to determine your path as your enter into the professional world. You may not be a student much longer but the learning is just beginning.