So you’ve decided to join a reputed company as an intern this coming summer. With high hopes you are looking forward to an enriching experience that harnesses your potential and helps you grow professionally. No doubt internships are a great way to explore in-depth information about the field where probably, after a few years, you’ll be working as a full time employee. But beware young newbie! Do not let your expectations deceive you as the reality can sometimes outweigh them.
There are high chances that you will be made to work like a full time employee and a part time servant rather than a student who’s joined the company to learn basic business techniques. I do not intend to sound like the terrible Debbie Downer here by breaking this bad news and bringing down your mood. But mate, it’s always better to know what to expect before you start so that you don’t have to encounter any nasty surprises. Here are the 3 most prevalent expectations students have (and how they often fall short of reality) when they are about to enter into the demanding world of internship.
Expectation no.1: I’ll be valued like everyone else
If you are thinking you’ll be given thought-provoking assignments right away, you are wrong. In the initial days, you’ll be made to work as a coffee maker and perform menial tasks like data entry. While most of the seniors won’t have the time to listen to your new ideas, the rest will consider you an amateur and not take your suggestions seriously (even though the company claims they are open to fresh concepts). Sounds like a total frustrating situation, right?
There will also be times when somebody else in a senior position will be given credit for the work done by you and in response to your qualms, their reply would be, “You are just an intern and not a permanent employee yet. So we’re sorry darling, we don’t have any other option.” In such downright disappointing moments, you should just start counting backwards and remember your goal- being proactive and fulfilling the tasks religiously. It sounds difficult but the more effort and energy you put into your work the better you are perceived by the employers. If you find you are not being challenged or are not given enough work (including the boring ones), don’t be afraid to tell your supervisor. Show them you’ve got what it takes to face challenges!
Expectation no.2: I’ll have a benevolent mentor
Do not expect you’ll be taught each and every thing at the company. Only a few will understand that you want to feel worthy and show what you’ve learned over the years. The rest will only think of you as an intern and expect you to be perfect at everything! Literally!
In situations like these, you will have to become your own mentor. Polish your observational skills. Look around and see the way people are working. Keep your ears and eyes open. Try to find out what works in the company and what doesn’t. Maintain a book and write your observations. Also, start getting used to yelling and meeting deadlines in the shortest possible time. As mentioned above, your seniors will expect you to be perfect at any task that will be showered upon you. 😛
Expectation no. 3: I’ll get a permanent job in the company after my internship ends
This is an expectation we all secretly have deep down in our hearts when we join a company as an intern. “That amazing cabin shall be mine one day!” we say to ourselves, oblivious to the fact that a company will not hire every intern but just a few selected ones. But do not be disheartened. If the company refuses to offer a permanent position at the end of your internship, the very least you can expect is a good reference and some impressive recommendations to other companies. Remember, you have a long way to go! Keep the big picture in mind.
A tough internship will certainly teach you two things- being diplomatic and tolerating work load. In the end, it’s all worth it! There is a probability that you’re internship journey will be much facile and nothing like the one outlined here in the article. But would you like to have a smooth sailing or one that’s rough but defies the tempestuous tides, only to emerge victorious in the end?