What to expect from summer internships

Good internships are a gem. But the truth is, a lot of people see them as just a CV-filler, so they go with whichever pays, or whichever has free parking, or whichever is the most convenient. But interning is an opportunity to explore either your own industry, or a career that’s different from your own. It’s also a good way to start building a work ethic to speak of.

The definite plus of an internship, any internship, is that you will meet lots of different people, and make new friends. Good internships connect you to people you wouldn’t have met if you hadn’t put yourself out there. You also get the chance to build a reputation, and to start towards developing grit. Ultimately, having a fulfilling internship is about openness to experiences, and hard work.

Here, Young STAR gives you some examples of successful internships to inspire you to go out of your comfort zone (within reason) and to choose boldly where you have not gone before. Intern wisely.

You will be pushed out of your comfort zone.

When I was 20, I interned as a writer for a creative blogger and a design thinking advocate. One of our projects was to interview industry leaders (think: Atom Araullo, Bianca Gonzalez, Rajo Laurel) and ask about why they’re excited about the 2013 Mid-term Elections. Being surrounded by awesome people is cool, but I can’t deny that the pressure was there. I had to conduct these interviews with my boss so I had to be switched on, right? I had to keep up, to look the part, to play the role. Being in an exciting internship, you can expect that it will be uncomfortable, and that’s good. Discomfort is a sign that you’re learning.

Expect to learn to navigate through unfamiliar places.

“Interning was such a positive experience for me,” says Mia, 23. “I learned how to hustle and really step up, you know?” Working for an events company as an intern, she had to learn how to commute and haggle in Divisoria for events props. “It was a place I’ve always been curious about, but I was always scared to go to. I just dove in and had to commute from Ortigas, where our office was, to Manila. It was tiring, but awesome.”

They won’t know what to do with you all the time.

Isa, 24, interned for a museum in Makati for a summer. “I expected kind of like fixing exhibits and giving tours even, but because they usually assigned people’s roles based on their majors, they weren’t sure what to do with a Lit/Histo major,” she says. The solution? Be proactive. Learn to be indispensable. According to Isa, it pays off. “One of my duties, and probably the best part, were the ‘Art Start’ activities for kids where they learned about famous artists/art movements through hands on activities so that was always fun. Bonding over Mondrian and Zesto, and inviting each other to their own birthday parties. They even invited me.”

You will make things you are proud of.

During a longer summer break, Becca, 22, did two internships. As a designer, she worked as an intern for a science museum and a design consultancy agency. “I made stickers and bookmarks which can now be purchased at the museum,” she says proudly. Of her second internship, she shares, “I learned the tools of the trade of graphic facilitation,” adding that readers should “Google it! It’s pretty cool.”

Own your work. Even if you’re not a designer (or in the creative industry), companies usually assign you to a particular project or event which culminates at the end of your internship. This way, you can contribute to a definite avenue that you can call your “own.”

You will have the opportunity to meet amazing people.

Aimee, 23, is currently in medical school, but one summer she spent time with the Department of Health (DOH) doing field work. “It involved gathering data from rural health centers in tiny towns scattered around the coasts of Northern Mindanao,” she says. “Each town we stopped at had a different vibe. Sometimes, if we happened to drop by at a benign hour, we would be treated to wonderful lunches featuring whatever food that town prided itself in. I will never forget the taste of a pineapple pastries from Tudela.”

Header is a still from The Internship (2013)
#career #self

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