The 3 things every intern should know – Somewhere between school and work is a unique opportunity to be a “working-student.”

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning for future interviews.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy this Urban Guide.

Internships and co-op experiences allow students and/or recent grads to gain work experience in industries that interest them. So keep reading to find out the 3 things every intern should know. 

I recently started my position as a business technical analyst intern in the corporate office of a non-profit organization. Now, this is not my first rodeo in a ‘trial employment’ situation. Back when I was interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism I worked closely with a local producer at Rogers TV and found that working with adults that were already established is a great learning experience for any student. The following are great ways to make the most out of any internship: 

1. Guide your experience with learning goals 

Entering the position a normal student may feel a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and well, confusion about what it is they will be asked to do. This is why you should start your internship with 3 or 4 learning goals that can better structure how you approach the position. Goals do not have to be permanent – they can be modified each week or month to better guide and organize your work.

Share the learning goals with your supervisor and make it a priority to communicate why you are there (because after all, you may or may not be getting paid here). Using outcomes that are meaningful that can be used to develop your resume/portfolio are just as good as a salary. 

Some examples of learning goals:

  • Enrich my knowledge of broadcast journalism by participating in live and taped productions.
  • Develop my professional network by stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing myself to 6 new people.
  • Enhance my design skills by creating a poster for the new business campaign.

2. Take Initiative 

Want to be a memorable intern? Standing out amongst the other co-op students by focusing on how you can excel at tasks that are within your capabilities is a great way to do that. (It may sound harsh but it’s what a leader would do).

Given that you are new to the organization wont know everything. However initiative can be as simple as finishing work efficiently, before deadlines, and/or volunteering to take additional work. 

Speaking up and asking questions to upper management.

Introverts: We live in a communicating world. Just take a deep breath, prepare your thoughts, and speak. 9 times out of 10 the person will be more focused on answering your question/statement than how it was asked/said.

Working with the learning goals you set for yourself can be used as a way to show initiative. Ask for feedback about your performance and align the constructive criticism with those goals, modify if necessary.

Just get involved! 

3. Leave on a positive note 

It is important to remember that this internship may or may not be paid. Nonetheless, considering the references and letter of recommendations you may receive can be extremely helpful in securing your next ‘real’ position.

Many jobs nowadays ask for 3 to 5 years of experience which is ridiculous because how do they expect us students to manage working that much while we’re in school. A benefit that internships have is they allow your ‘working-student’ experiences to count as relevant work experience.

So again, focus on building a positive relationship by putting your best foot forward and leaving the position on a positive note , it can make all the difference further down your chosen path.

Conclusion 

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning. Most likely it will come up in a future interview so practice practice practice!

Consider situational interview questions such as:

“Tell me a time where your displayed initiative?”

“Describe a challenge you overcame, and how you did that?”

“How do you work in a team? Provide an example of a time you worked collaboratively.” 

The Expert in anything was once a Beginner. – Unknown

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Guest Blog: Overcome Procrastination

Devise smaller manageable tasks to ensure a more attainable vision. Learn to enjoy the process without wasting time fearing for the outcome.

Hey there, galaxy navigators!

My name is Renée. I run a lifestyle and wellness blog called In Control & Caffeinated, but today, I am excited to be steering you through the galaxy with my very own urban guide — Let’s kick procrastination to the curb, once and for all!

_______________________

None of us asked to be born and yet here we are, endowed with responsibilities to boot – Bizarre, right? “Be a productive member of society”, they say, and it’s more of an expectation than a suggestion. Pfft.
If I know one thing for sure, it’s that The Amanda Show was an early 2000’s Nickelodeon gem. I identified with a character called, “The Procrastinator”, a spoofy superhero whose catchphrase was, “EEE-VENTUALLY”. Revisit this sketch. It’s a classic. I’ll wait…

I knew that I tended to procrastinate, but I have since learned that procrastination is not a sign of a Netflix obsession, laziness or disinterest. Procrastination is rather a manifestation of perfectionism, and a means to avoid challenging feelings like frustration and rejection.

Ironically, I have rewritten the first part of this post over 10 times and am still not happy with it. If you are anything like me, fear of failure or not meeting your own expectations gets in the way of productivity all too often. While you are certainly being told by others to “be a productive member of society”, more often than not, your voice is the loudest of them all.

Being a perfectionist means you are a high-aiming visionary. Overcoming procrastination then, is a matter of dialling your perfectionism back and leveraging those good qualities to develop strategies toward a “healthy pursuit of excellence”.

Stop, Start, Continue: 

Stop:

Equating self worth with your performance:

The term “off day” is here to remind us that a little failure every now and then is no reflection of our character, but is actually quite normal. Work hard, strive for attainable excellence and be proud!

Waiting for the perfect moment:

Something is always holding you back from just diving in; the time never feels entirely right, and it never will. Choose to dive in and to enjoy the process, because you are totally capable.

Start:

Understanding the root of your procrastination:

I’m officially calling you out on avoiding your feelings. Feeling all the feels builds resilience; let it happen. Remember that you are your toughest critic; take it easy on yourself by setting yourself up for success (check out my previous post to learn how to do this).

Prioritizing your tasks and optimizing your time:

Devise smaller manageable tasks to ensure a more attainable vision. Learn to enjoy the process (consider employing the pomodoro technique) without wasting time fearing for the outcome.

Continue:

Striving high (but not too high)!

Dial it back like three notches. No need to settle for satisfactory, but in the wise words of Hannah Montana, “nobody’s perfect”.

Generating copious, imaginative ideas. You are a visionary!

It’s what you do best so keep those ideas flowing. Just be sure to back them up with manageable tasks so that you don’t drown in your own creative brilliance.

Be patient. As with any new undertaking, these techniques will take practice, but bringing them to mind is the first step.

Now, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and take control!