Let’s face it, you’re addicted to interning. Ever since that first internship class you can’t have enough – hell you’ve had more internships than jobs at this point. And that’s great! But you want to make sure you’re not getting taken advantage of, which is super easy in this age of, “oh have the intern do it.” Even if you’re only looking into your first or second internship, there’s a lot of things you should think about before, during, and after your experience.
Lessons I’ve Learned from Interning
- You always deserve to be paid if you’re not getting school credit for the course (and it’s actually illegal not to be)
- …Unless you love if so much you’d do it for free, or it’s a really amazing opportunity. Think of this more as volunteering or investing in the future.
- Intern where you feel you can succeed – for example, I love structure, planning, and organization so I’m not great at working with start-ups. Know this about yourself so you can spend time where you’ll do best and get the most out of it.
- A good internship will sit you down at the beginning & ask you what you want to get out of it, not just say what you can do for them.
- Your supervisor should know more than you do about your internship. If you’re the resident expert, you’re not an intern, you’re a freelancer – and your pay should reflect that.
- You should actually work on important projects, not just do tasks and busy work that your supervisor didn’t want, or didn’t know how, to do. (Sure, you’ll get some of that – but you really should also work on projects or initiatives that are, essentially, yours.)
- A good internship will have an environment where you feel comfortable asking to do more of something you’re interested in. They know they’re either not paying you, or not paying you much, and this is a learning experience. They should be receptive to your working on things that can better benefit the both of you.
- No matter what, you’ll have fun (at least once!) and learn a lot. Even if it’s an overall bad experience, you learned the type of environment or work that doesn’t jive with you, and those are distinctively important lessons.
So good luck! Have you learned any lessons through your internship experiences?