While on my third internship in a row, I have definitely learned a variety of information that I wouldn’t necessarily learn in class. The number one thing I learned that took some time for me to realize is the fact that just because I’m the intern or the youngest one there, doesn’t mean my opinion doesn’t matter. First starting an internship is nerve racking. You are thrown into a new situation that you are learning how to handle on your own. In the beginning of my internships, I would sit in the corner and just do everything I was told. I kept most of my ideas to myself because I always thought, “I’m just the intern, these people probably don’t even know my name, let alone care about what I have to say”. I just had such a stereotypical mindset of what an intern was, which really limited myself. At the end of my first internship, when it came time for my boss to evaluate me over the past semester, there was something he said that I will always remember. He said that I needed more confidence because I had great ideas. That wasn’t what I was expecting. In the beginning you’re always going to be hesitant because you’re the new guy and need to learn the ropes. But don’t let that go on forever. It is so important to allow yourself to open up and share thoughts and ideas because it allows you to grow as a person. Sure you can learn a lot by having people tell you what to do and how things work, but the best way to learn is to engage yourself.
This is one of the best things I could have ever learned and it changed me, not only professionally but as a person.
My two previous internships were at a small start up company and at a small agency so I was able to learn how to open up as I became closer to the people I was seeing every day. Now I’m at Brownstein Group, a large agency with well-known clients and it is pretty intimidating. I was not sure what to expect joining a new place with a different environment than I was used to. But while I’m here, I always think about when my previous boss told me to be confident and share my thoughts and I make sure to stay true to that. At BG, I get to go into client meetings a few times a week, which is something I have never done before. I will admit it is a little intimidating and there are times when I just sit there and take notes because I am not 100% sure what is going on, but whenever I get the chance, I try to speak up. No one will remember me if I am that intern sitting in the corner writing notes and I will never know if what I thought was helpful or sighting if I never shared it. I share my thoughts on a project and I always get great responses back and become part of the conversation. I was always scared that I would say something and they would look at me like, “why is she talking?” but that has never even been close to true. When you are confident and share your thoughts, they respect and appreciate that and I feel as if I’m one of them.
So overall, the most important thing I have learned that I know you will not learn in class is to not hold yourself back just because you’re the intern or the youngest one in the office. You will hold yourself back from learning and you won’t make a lasting impression just doing what you’re told rather than speaking up.