23 Ago 5 Lessons I learned from my Internship at a Startup
We’re at a point where it’s expected of college students to have completed an internship or two before graduating. Before my first intern experience, this expectation was a nebulous force of pressure that weighed down on me. How would I know what kind of internship to look for and how would I find it?
Having completed my first internship as Scripted.com’s summer marketing intern, I’m walking away with an entirely refreshed perspective. Students are taking on internships because there are just too many career options out there. How could anyone decide what they’re interested in doing after college without trying out an option or two?
Interning at Scripted.com has informed my future career goals and has taught me a few things about the work world. Here are some of the key lessons I’ve come away with from my first internship:
Lesson 1: Coworkers Can Be Like Career Coaches
For anyone working as an intern, I can’t stress this enough: Talk to your coworkers. If you see someone who is in a position that interests you, you should know how he or she got there. As someone who is still in school, I learned a lot about potential career paths by looking at the diverse experiences of my coworkers. Plus, it worked as a great starting point to getting to know everyone.
Lesson 2: Be Confident in Your Own Ability
As a first-time intern, from time to time I found myself faced with tasks that I wasn’t really sure how to approach. Whenever this would happen my brain would zoom to the stereotypes of interning. I’d find myself thinking that the only contribution I could make as an intern would be to get coffee for everyone else. However, when I would sit and break down the steps of the task ahead of me, I would remember that this wasn’t the case at all. Businesses welcome fresh perspectives and diverse experience. While every project you complete may not be revolutionary, know that you are capable of making valuable contributions.
Lesson 3: Don’t Squander Your Opportunity to Learn
Internships are an opportunity and shouldn’t be wasted. If there’s one sure-fire way to waste an internship, it’s by selling yourself short. If a coworker asks you to complete a task for them, take it as a sign of faith in your skill set and put forward your best effort. I like to think that the answer to any work-related request should be “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” If you don’t know what you’re doing at the start of the project, you’re bound to learn plenty along the way, which leads to lesson four.
Lesson 4: Everyone Asks Questions
One of the unique traits of a startup is the collaborative nature of the workplace. In the middle of the day at Scripted you could see a product engineer walk over to ask an account manager a question about how they use the Scripted dashboard. As a result, the next product update would be more intuitive and user-friendly. The point I’m getting at is a very obvious one: nobody knows everything and everyone asks questions. At the end of the day, the goal of any internship is to learn as much as there is to learn. Your employers and coworkers understand this and will be willing to help you out by answering questions, so take advantage of it, and don’t forget to ask the important ones.
Lesson 5: Respect and Gratitude
From a business perspective, having an intern can be helpful, but it’s also a responsibility. Employers have to invest time and resources into internship programs to make sure the experience is positive for everyone. Being that this is the case, internships are a privilege, because they allow you a unique opportunity to gain practical experience, learn about career options, and most of all, get a taste for the real world while you’re still in college. For these reasons, it’s hugely important, as an intern, to be respectful of your coworkers’ and the company’s time and grateful for the opportunity.
My time at Scripted.com has developed my career interests in business and marketing in a way that attending college classes on the subjects could not. It was also a window into the world of startups, which I wouldn’t have otherwise explored.
Startups have a unique charm of their own characterized by a focus around problem solving. It’s easy to become invested in the work that you’re doing when passionate people who share the same level of dedication surround you. The environment at Scripted was amazing, since every day was charged by people striving to improve the business, the company, and the product.
Thanks to Mihid