I spent my summer sitting at a desk, all day, 3 times a week, for 3 months (and counting). Though it may sound boring, I can assure you that my internship experience is nothing but that.
I’ve been fortunate enough to land a role as a Strategy Analyst intern at a boutique management consulting firm called The Agenda Agency. Amongst the insights, skills and knowledge I’ve learned during my time at the firm, there have been 4 things that have particularly resonated with me.
Life as an intern has taught me…
1) Sitting down all day can be tiring
At the end of each day, I found that I was more tired if I didn’t go out and have a walk or do something active in the day. It’s important to keep a good balance between work and play, so try to find some time in the day to stretch your legs, get out of the four walls, away from the laptop screen and take a breather.
2) The difference between good and great is 100 drafts
This one may be hard if you’re a perfectionist like myself. But I’ve realised that a good report, presentation or deliverable will not be perfect on the first go. It’s important to let the ideas flow without a filter FIRST and then do the refining and nit-picking after.
3) Proactivity is paramount
Cliché as it sounds, you really do only get out what you put in. It’s perfectly fine to stick to your duties and get things done, but if you really want to learn new things, develop new skills and discover more about your potential and future career, it’s critical to go above and beyond what is asked of you. So do the coffee runs but make sure to keep asking those questions; constantly ask for more things to do; engage in tasks that are out of your expertise – be proactive about your learning. It’ll be challenging and nerve-racking, but the outcome will always be rewarding.
4) Speak to your future, and it will speak back
This one’s a little cheesy, but it’s the most valuable thing I have learned throughout my whole time as an intern and student. Developing your skills now and finding out what your interests and hates are will create a strong foundation for your future where you’ll be able to continuously practise and build upon. Do things today that your future self will thank you for.
An internship will offer you a learning experience that you can’t get in a university or a classroom.
It will teach you skills and open you to networks that you will carry with you for the rest of your personal and professional life.
I can definitely say that sitting at a desk, all day, 3 times a week, for 3 months (and counting) has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far, and I hope you have the opportunity to land one too.