Making the most of your Internship
Orientation - Your organization may offer a formal orientation or may show you around and make introductions. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know more about the company. Observe the culture of the company. How do people dress? Are they formal or informal when they approach each other? How do people communicate? What are their work habits? Does your supervisor work through lunch, and then stay late?
During orientation expect to be introduced to the top officials; meet other interns; learn about the history and mission of the organization; and cover organizational policies on absenteeism, use of property, sexual harassment, safety practices, dress codes, and specific policies.
If there is no orientation offered, read about the organization to find out about the history and the mission. Ask to attend meetings with departments and to have a tour. Arrange to meet key people in the organization. Take advantage of workshops or seminars.
- Listen more than talk.
- Show respect for all people.
- Show an interest in and commitment to attending organized sessions for interns.
- Come prepared for work.
- Come dressed in appropriate professional clothes.
- Show support for colleagues by attending social functions.
- Treat your co-workers as you would want to be treated.
- Help out willingly when asked.
- Establish credibility by performing your job competently.
- Ask good questions; avoid asking questions about skills that you are expected to know.
- Criticizing people, policies or procedures.
- Working on homework or other school tasks or surfing the internet.
- Spending so much time getting to know others that you are unable to perform the tasks assigned.
- Acting like a know-it-all, but failing to demonstrate competence in your area.
- Criticizing your supervisor, or going behind his/her back to get something.
Some Basic Work Requirements
- Report when scheduled.
- Notify your supervisor if you can’t be at work.
- Keep your supervisor informed about what you are working on.
- Take appropriate safety precautions if working around people and equipment.
What happens if problems arise?
You are encouraged to talk directly with the person with whom you have the problem first. If the problem is with a co-worker and cannot be resolved, then talk with your site supervisor. You are encouraged to address the issues, come up with solutions and reach an agreeable solution. If that cannot happen, then approach your faculty supervisor for advice. Try to maintain good communication, respect others, and understand the expectations.