How to be a 'Super Intern'

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Gearing up for your summer internship? Meher Manda lets you in on some tricks to help you make the most of this opportunity

At the threshold of graduation, confusion about choosing what you could be doing for the rest of your professional life is tricky matter. And that’s where the loving world of an internship comes in handy. Not that it is the happiest place to be in, but the long, strenuous, no-pay hours will unearth the professional in you.

College, Only Better
Your internship is not your college. Period. College lectures come with a sleuth of information overload that just push you to a greater academic performance. Let’s face it, most of the education meted out to you is hardly going to help you in your professional career. And that is a sacrifice you pay for a graduation degree from a commendable university.  But fret not, an internship is exactly what’s meant for you. Between those fixed time segments when you might have to go get coffee for your colleagues, there is a lot of learning, some good dose of criticism and a lot of practice time offered your way. Very often, in most organisations, you might not get to do the important work at all. But to participate and to see a work structure unravel in front of your eyes is very enriching. And it is an experience that you will take back and encapsulate in your college projects as well, adding a sense of professionalism to your work.

Criticism? Deal with it
You’re an intern. Everything you do will be strongly scrutinised, checked over and over again and harshly criticised. But taking that to heart and letting it affect your work behaviour and performance is foolhardy. Remember, your superiors are not ganging up on you for fun; in the process, they are building a great learning network.
Tunali Mukherjee, a freelance photographer, writer, filmmaker and full time ‘doggy momma’ agrees, “The perfect intern is one who’s eager to learn, doesn’t make excuses for their mistakes, buts thinks about what went wrong and learns from it. You need to be mature and open to people teaching you, scolding you and criticising you; instead of going into a shell and thinking they are mean. They aren’t being mean because you’re an intern, but know more than you and are guiding you – even if it may sound rude to you.”

Let Commitment take the Front Seat
Internship, for some, may seem like a la-la land – intensely friendly colleagues, barely any work to be done, and a professional set-up – built just for you. But never ever be the one to not participate in things. Always be eager to do a job, offer to take up a project and come with suggestions. Ideating never hurt anybody. Make sure your superiors realise your level of commitment to the opportunity given to you. Having said that, don’t behave like an eager bunny set loose, which brings me to my next point.

Keep your Social Animal in Control
While pursuing an internship, you will most likely be the youngest in your department. While it is nice to be friendly to everyone, especially to the people closer to your age group, your colleagues are not your ‘chums’ or ‘bros’. While one may never deny that you might develop a special friendship with a few and a great working relationship with others, never take office behaviour for granted.
By the end of it all, they are still your colleagues, senior to you on most counts, and more knowledgeable. Make sure you are the note-taker and not the  loudmouth, and do not absolutely ever engage in office olitics. Your stay in the organisation is albeit temporary, so never say things that might deem your presence unfavourable.

Answer your Own Questions
Firstly, and most importantly, figure out why you’re following the internship. As Roshan Kokane, a second year BMM student points out, “Internships will only help us to understand the market better. One cannot learn how to swim unless pushed in water. Also, internships will help us to understand ourselves – what we like and how our future would be.” Channel the reason behind your enternship in everything you do at work. That alone will help you be a good intern as you will direct your energy towards building for yourself a fruitful resume.

“[The perfect intern is] someone who strives to do more than what’s expected of him/her, who understands that the real world is different from college projects and realises that it isn’t all that easy, but that’s why it is truly rewarding.”
– Raj Lalwani, Features Editor at a photography magazine

The Coolest Moments of Internship!
1. First outing with your team:
If you do develop a good relationship with your colleagues, they might just invite you with them for an after-work plan, a movie or dinner. This will just make your internship a much better experience.
2. You’re the man behind the food: Well, interns generally don’t have much work to do, so sometimes you will have to fetch coffee or lunch for your colleagues. If they are nice, they will most likely beg you to do it and even pay your convenience. Either way, it’s an experience you must have.
3. Upper and lower boss moment:
Each intern is under the responsibility of one head, who is under the main boss. In your moments of weakness, the boss may vent out his frustration on your head, assuming you know nothing, which makes the moment better, if your head is just plain rude to you.
4. The internship letter: Nothing is as beautiful as a job accomplished. The internship letter frees you and sends you back to bunking lectures and delayed submissions. Hurray?

 

Volume 2 Issue 10