How I Got the Most Out of My Internship
I hadn’t expected this internship to turn out the way it did. To be honest, this job and what it entailed surprised me a number of times.
There were a few moments that made me want to give up and simply say, “I don’t really need this internship. I can always do this later.” And there were times of inspiration where I thought, “Oh yeah, I can do this. I will not give in to what is comfortable and familiar.”
Even if you feel like you’re being taken advantage of at times, rise above the pettiness and remember that you’ll be the one hiring interns one day.
You probably already have it figured out that the sense of doubt or not knowing where you belong is a healthy feeling sometimes. It urges you to reflect on what you really want to learn and eventually master. It always does well to be reminded of this though.
As a design intern, I was thrown into the deep end a bit. I had done my research on the design industry and learned almost as much as one can through means of the internet about applying design in the professional world. But it was nothing compared to what I know now, having completed this internship.
Of course, I learned all about office politics and had some first-hand experience with the importance of solid workplace communication, but the real takeaway was continuing to work my hardest even when I feel there is no overarching goal.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t given much context for my designs and why I was creating something in the first place. (This was a slight management error, but I honestly can’t complain too much – my supervisors hired me very quickly and had little time to prepare a cohesive project for me in the beginning. It was figured out eventually.)
Design is much more than making something look good. At the risk of sounding like a snobby arty type – There is a process. In order to be at my most creative, a purpose must be involved. Just like a builder can’t build something without knowing what the building is for, a designer can’t design something without knowing what the design is for.
I won’t go too into depth about why designers do more than just design (not just yet anyway), but context is always crucial. And employers should always put in the effort to provide their employees with context and meaning.
I had to remind myself that I was not just working for someone else – I was building my own skills, seeing what I could handle and what I needed to improve upon.
I formed my own reason for continuing to do my best work. It’s not in my personality to half-ass something, so I forced myself to keep at it.
And so, for any interns struggling through the busy work and waddling along, trying to find where you belong in the system – don’t lose yourself in the process.
Remind yourself daily why you are doing this. Remind yourself of what is most important to you. Keep showing up early and working until the last minute. Even if you feel like you’re being taken advantage of at times, rise above the pettiness and remember that you’ll be the one hiring interns one day.
And know that you certainly won’t treat them like cheap workers. Investing time and energy in your interns is actually probably one of the best things you can do as a business owner…
Link to one of my design projects with the web design & development company: