Hello! My name is Vi (Vivian) La, and I am currently a junior Advertising student with a concentration in Brand Strategy & Research. For the past few months, I have been working as a Strategic Planning intern at Tierney, an Interpublic Group’s full-service agency. Throughout my time at Klein College, I have heard a lot of people saying that starting your first internship is perhaps the most intimidating experience, ever. While I believe that this statement is true for most of us, I have found my second internship to be even more intimidating than the first one – but in a different (and good) way. For any of you who has just wrapped up your first experience in this industry, I am not here to scare you about your next experience! In fact, I would love to give you some tips that hopefully will be helpful for you as you prepare to climb that next mountain on the list.
There are expectations, and that’s okay.
When you come into your first internship, you are expected to learn as much as you can and try as hard as you can. When you come into your next one, you are still expected to learn as much as you can and try as hard as you can; however, there are higher expectation coming with it. Whether it be completing a task without much guidance, taking the initiative to get to know people you work with or going the extra mile to help the team, the bar is higher and so is the pressure to succeed.
Nonetheless, I’ve found that the more stressful I feel about checking those boxes, the less confident I’ve become. During my first two weeks, I remember having a lot of questions but eventually finding myself figuring them out on my own since I was afraid that they might be “stupid” questions. Throughout that “transitional” period of time, I went over what I wrote in my first blog post about the importance of asking question, being proactive and trusting yourself. Revisiting what I wrote helped me realize that just because the bar was higher, did not mean that I should stop asking questions or pretending that I was on top of everything. In fact, when I started speaking up my questions and voicing my ideas to the team at Tierney, everything got better – I better understood the assignments, I better communicated with the team – I felt better. More importantly, I was able to make positive impressions to my supervisors as they could feel how much I cared about my work and how much I wanted to learn.
If I were to go back to four months ago when I first started interning at Tierney, I would tell myself that yes, the expectations were higher, but that’s okay. Because higher expectations did not mean that you have to figure things out on your own, or if you ask question it would make you look stupid, or you should “master” everything by now. It’s okay to ask for clarification, for guidance and for help! Indeed, I have realized that expectations are higher in the best way. You are expected to learn and to make your best effort to continuously improve. You are expected to take the initiative and bring it to the next level – jumping in wherever needs a helping hand, coordinating schedules and setting up a meeting with other team members by yourself, making sure that your works are polished and follow the brand standards. All of these might sound intimidating at first, but keep in mind that no question is stupid and that everyone around you is there and is willing to help – speak up and be vocal! By the end of my internship, I have come to realize that these higher expectations had helped push me out of my comfort zone and as a result, I’ve seen myself maturing week after week.
It might be different than the first one, and that’s okay.
Coming to Tierney as my second “agency experience”, I thought I knew exactly what to expect and even painted a picture in my head of what my experience would look like. It turned out that I was wrong. The company’s culture was different, the kind of work that I was assigned was different, the working style was different – there was hardly anything that looked like what I had imagined in my head. Don’t get me wrong, it was nothing less amazing than my first experience – it was just different. As I adjusted myself to fit into Tierney’s culture, I realized what an amazing opportunity this was to be exposed to a new environment and learn something new!
As you step into your second internship, you will find yourself having all sorts of expectations for this new place – most of them might come from your previous experience. While some boxes might be checked, some might be not, and that’s okay. Be opened to learn about a new culture, to get to know new people, and more importantly – to see for yourself where you fit in. This is why I strongly encourage all of you to have more than one internship! It is crucial that you immerse yourself into different environments and experience different working styles to see what works best for you. What kind of clients makes you most excited to work on? Do you prefer to work in a team or to report to a person? Do you enjoy doing smaller tasks for bigger clients or bigger tasks for smaller clients? The more you throw yourself out there to gain more experiences, the more questions you will be able to answer and the better you will come to understand yourself.
It’s okay, you’ve got this.
To sum this up, there are expectations that you have for your second internship and there are expectations from them for you as well. As intimidating as this may sound, don’t panic! People around you are great resources waiting for you to tap into, whether they be your supervisors, your peer interns or your professors. Keep challenging yourself to climb the next mountain. In case you need some supports, I am here to tell you that it’s okay, you’ve got this.