Navigating the internship environment
Navigating the work environment of a new internship can be daunting.
I recently started a new internship, which unlocked some social anxiety for me. New people, new locations, and new job responsibilities can be stressful! It also feels scary to be around established professionals in what could be your future career field, and feel unqualified to be in the same office environment as them. However, since this is the third internship that I have undertaken since starting university, I have some tips that have helped me to feel less anxious.
- Introduce yourself to people. Though this would seem obvious, this is particularly nerve-wracking for me, and I know I'm not alone with this anxiety. Yet, I have found it is much more rewarding when you make the effort to talk to the people that you see in the office, especially those who you aren't necessarily working with. Show an interest in their jobs, their daily tasks, and what's going on in their lives.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes the stress at an internship derives from feeling nervous to ask questions. You might not want to appear as if you don't know what you're doing, or don't want to give the impression that you weren't properly listening to their instructions. However, you have to remember that they took an intern for a reason, and are happy to help you.
- It's okay to be lost. I mean this quite literally: not knowing where the kitchen or a bathroom is can make you feel a bit worried. But that's okay! You'll get the bearings soon enough.
- Remember that it still a learning experience. If there are some aspects of the office rules and etiquette that you do or don't like, remember that this can inform you about what type of workplace you want to work in later on.
- Have fun! At the end of the day, doing an internship is because you want to learn what a particular job entails, so having fun and enjoying yourself is the most important thing!