What My Internship Has Taught Me About the Work World


By Cole Sterr


Starting a new job or internship can undoubtedly be a daunting experience, especially for students who are entering the workforce for the first time. On May 14, I started my first day as a Marketing and Communications Intern with one of the top real estate development companies in the Twin Cities. Two-and-a-half months later, I’m still going strong, working 8-4:30 PM five days a week, and I have definitely learned a whole lot about the so-called “real world.” Below are different things to keep in mind to make your transition into your first internship or new job a little less intimidating:


  • There will be times when you’ll have no idea what you’re doing, and that’s okay!

On the first day at my internship, I unexpectedly was able to sit in on a meeting with my two bosses and a bunch of other real-estate developers and listen to updates about different properties that these developers were managing. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about and felt like a complete fish out of water. However, that’s okay because I’ve realized that there will be plenty of situations when I’ll feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll be more motivated to be informed, prepared, and engaged in my work.


  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions

I personally feel like this is an often overlooked characteristic. Having a natural curiosity and desire to learn can go a long way. I have found it worthwhile to not be afraid to ask questions because it portrays your dedication to the job and willingness to get something done. Plus, it is always better to ask a question and know what you’re doing rather than to not ask the question and screw something up.


  • Remember what your core job is

If your main job is to write a story every week highlighting different happenings about the company, you better put that at the top of your to-do list. Accomplishing tasks that are in the realm of your job description is extremely important to maintaining a good reputation and work ethic at your job. From there, you can then communicate with your boss other things that you’re interested in and be a part of other conversations to prove that you are a versatile and well-rounded employee.


  • Establish a rapport with your co-workers

This is a big one! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people in the office and other departments because having someone to connect with outside the work that you do will make going to work more enjoyable and fun. Catching up with another co-worker, asking about their weekend, grabbing lunch, or just talking over a cup of coffee are great ways to start establishing a rapport with other people in the office.


  • Dress for success

When you look good, you feel good. Before I started my job, I laid out every outfit for my first week, and I felt so much better and less stressed about getting ready in the morning. I also felt that I looked good and, therefore, was so much more confident strutting into the office every morning! You’ll feel more present, more confident, and more motivated at work when you look and feel good!


  • Go the extra mile

Going the extra mile can definitely make you stand out amongst your employees and solidify a well functioning relationship with your boss. The “extra mile” can be completing a task way ahead of time, offering to be a part of outside projects, updating your boss when unasked, or even coming into the office early and working late!


These six tips will hopefully help you become better prepared and engaged when you start day one of your internship! I know it can be an intimidating task, but by keeping these things in mind and having an open and positive attitude, you’ll be able to make your internship experience one to remember as your career progresses.



Laura BeierComment