A Right Way and A Wrong Way to Intern

The beginning of the summer season is indicative of beautiful weather, endless outdoor activities, and the start of the company’s internship program. For two months, college students enter the corporate workforce for the first time not only to gain valuable experience to pad their resumes but also to decide whether or not they are ready to spend a majority of their lives in a fabric-lined box. Each department is assigned an intern, unless it’s large, then multiple interns are assigned.

The department I work in is assigned a summer intern every year. The interns in the previous two years weren’t memorable, but this year’s intern impressed me, and I think he will be very successful in his career. So what made this intern stand out from the previous two?

  1. I noticed his initiative to introduce himself to the members of the department. When I first crossed paths with last year’s intern at the elevator lobby, I was met with a blank stare. Nothing. Only then did I introduce myself to the intern. And the intern before that was a ghost, seeming to appear on the floor at random times, and disappear for days.  I crossed paths with this year’s intern in the hallway, and as we made eye contact, he motioned in for a handshake and introduced himself.
  2. It felt like he was part of the team. He engaged in conversations, shared personal stories, sat down with us in the break room during lunch. He never isolated himself. The other interns in the past kept to themselves, never said hello, and ate lunch in the corner of the break room away from everyone else.
  3. The intern invited the department out to happy hour before leaving. On his last day, he sent a humble and thankful email to the department summarizing his internship experience and what he learned from it.
  4. His enthusiasm and drive made me want him to succeed. I gave him my business card to contact me whenever. If he ever needs advice or a recommendation, I’ll be there.

He did his internship right. He put in the time to complete his assignments, got to know the team, and made himself memorable. As it turns out, there’s a right way and a wrong way to intern.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *