How to successfully transition from student to intern

Making the leap from student to intern can be a daunting one. I know it was for me at first. After spending 13 years and one semester as a student, it was time to make my way into the full-time working world for the summer.

I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I did know that I wanted to be a successful intern and become an asset to the company. Now, as the summer is coming to a close and school is quickly approaching again, I can proudly say I have survived and truly enjoyed my experience as a full-time summer intern.

I obtained many valuable lessons from my overall experience. Whether you will begin a part-time internship this fall or are already thinking about a full-time internship for next summer, here are the top five things I believe you should know:

1) Show your commitment 2) It’s okay to make mistakes 3) Ask questions 4) Sit up straight as you type away 5) Remember to have fun

Show your commitment

Showing your commitment as an intern is vital. Being hired as an intern means the company believed in your potential to strive within the company and to contribute great things. Make sure to show up for work on-time or even come in early and, if necessary, stay late. Do whatever it takes to get your work done and to get it done well. I always remind myself that my work will have an impact on our company and our clients so I, of course, want to make sure it’s a good impact. I want to always show that I am a committed and reliable team member, and you should too!

It’s okay to make mistakes

One of the biggest lessons I learned as an intern is that it’s okay to make mistakes. You're not going to know everything right away, and you're going to make a mistake or two. But hey, that is what interning is all about. You are attempting to apply the knowledge you acquired from textbooks and countless lectures and learning how a company operates all at once. Just remember to always strive to do your best; internships are designed to offer a learning experience. Take the feedback you are given and learn from it to prevent making the same mistake twice.

Ask questions

It can be embarrassing to ask numerous questions in the beginning. But, in fact, asking questions is a good thing because it shows you are willing to learn, are motivated and have an interest in your job. The last thing you want is to be nervously sitting at your desk with endless questions and see the clock ticking away. Instead, ask your question, take notes of the answer and continue being productive. Trust me you will save yourself so much time and stress if you just ask for help when you need it. I am sure your co-workers will be more than happy to help you out.

Sit up straight as you type away

I learned to sit up straight the hard way and still struggle with it at times. After hours of working away putting together clients’ social media posts, newsletters and communication emails, my back is killing me. It is very easy to become so focused on your work that you naturally begin to hunch over as you type away. It may be silly advice, but remind yourself to sit up straight to avoid severe back pain later on in the day. You will thank me later.

Remember to have fun

Don’t forget that with work comes play. Take advantage of your time as an intern by having fun and getting to know your team. Going out to lunch, going on a coffee run or even making small talk with your co-workers is a great way to make fun memories and to know them on a more personal level. Your internship is what you make it, so make sure it’s a fun learning experience.

It took me 13 years and one semester to become an intern, but in one short summer I’ve become a working professional—and you can too. So drink the coffee, try these tips, and go be an amazing intern!


Currently a senior marketing major at Drake University, Samantha has worked on research and content creation for social media outlets for Capture Marketing clients. Samantha also works on campaigns focused around Hispanic outreach and engagement.

#intern #internship #professional #business #student #successful

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