Certain colleges require you to complete an internship before you graduate. Moreover, certain employers simply will not hire recent graduates unless they have internship experience in the respective field. So, one way or another, you may have to complete an internship, but never fear — it may become the most rewarding and eye-opening experience of your college career.
During your internship, you will learn not just the skills, but also the practices necessary to succeed in college and in your chosen occupation. Here are four valuable lessons you will learn:
- The true definition of “on time.”
The designated time for you to arrive at your internship each day might be 9:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., or possibly noon. Regardless of your specific schedule, there will likely be unspoken rules about when you actually need to be present. If your internship begins at 8:00 a.m. and you spend 15 minutes getting coffee and turning your computer on, you are essentially late.
If you attend meetings, you cannot simply arrive just as the meeting starts without completing some relevant work prior to it. Instead, you must first complete any necessary background research or logistical tasks to be an active participant. This lesson can directly translate to both college and your future career. Simply being prepared for a class or a club meeting can ensure you are more engaged in the content, and it can improve your learning.
- Emotional intelligence.
The term emotional intelligence refers to a popular concept in a variety of industries. Essentially, it is defined as your ability to understand how your peers feel and to gauge how they might react to a specific situation. It also relates to your ability to change your behavior based on these factors. For instance, it might mean determining a constructive and productive manner in which to tell someone you do not believe his or her work is correct. It might mean politely and respectfully advocating for you in a challenging situation. This will be absolutely necessary as you advance in your career and hopefully become a leader. This practice will likewise aid you if you ever assume a leadership position.
- The balance between lightheartedness and seriousness.
This can apply to classmates, colleagues, professors, and so on. As you undoubtedly realize, you spend a great deal of time with these individuals, and your day-to-day interactions are typically better when you can relax around them a bit. However, you must maintain a fair balance between lightheartedness and seriousness. Remember that the line is different for each person with whom you interact. Your internship will help you better define exactly where this line is with various individuals. That can be very important; as being both well liked and respected at the office can help you succeed.
- Diverse experiences.
During your internship, you will meet a number of diverse people with different backgrounds. Seeing the unique paths people took to reach their current roles can help you decide exactly what you wish to do and study. This will then provide you with a better understanding of how to launch your ideal career, as well as how to maximize your academic experiences to reach that career.
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