You’re Still Learning… and That’s Okay!
By: John Katzmarek
Like many other college students, I find myself getting pretty anxious the past few years as I have gotten closer to entering the “real world.” I have spent countless hours worrying about resumes, cover letters and interviews, and even when I have finally secured a position, I’m worried about not being enough.
Throughout my college career I have worked as a marketing intern at Jeff Belzer’s Car Dealership and Lincoln Parks and Recreation, a web development intern at Ebbeka Design Co, and a brand strategist at Jacht. As I began all of these different positions, I constantly worried that I was underqualified, that I didn’t have enough to offer or that I simply didn’t know enough yet. But that was just not true. The beauty of being a student is that the people around you understand that you are still learning, and they are more than willing to help you learn. There are three major things I’ve learned during my time as an intern; you must understand that you’re still learning; try everything; and show that you care.
Understand that you’re still learning.
The most important part of getting out in the real world is shedding your insecurities and just going for it. I was so worried about not impressing my coworkers that I forgot what being an intern is all about: learning. Soak it in, try as many things as you can and don’t be afraid of messing up. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s okay! You’re an intern; it happens! Your coworkers understand that being an intern is a time for learning and are ready to help at a moment’s notice. In all of my positions, I had someone there beside me to guide me when I was lost, give me advice when I was unsure and to support me when I needed it. Having these people with me along the way allowed me to feel comfortable to learn and try new things and gave me the confidence I needed to be a better professional.
As an intern, you should make it your goal to try and to familiarize yourself with as many different aspects of the job as possible. The more pieces you understand of the puzzle, the easier it will be to see the big picture, and the faster you will pick things up down the road. During my time in various positions, I tried my hand at graphic design, web design, social media advertising, researching strategy, copywriting, SEO, being a brand ambassador and much more. This allowed me to become competent in all these fields, so I could handle whatever my next job would throw at me.
Show that you care.
I think this is what makes or breaks an internship, Interns are judged on work ethic above all else. It’s okay to make mistakes, but you must be working hard to learn and get better every day. If your coworkers see you working hard and treating others with respect, they will be more than happy to help you with anything you may need. It is a privilege to get to be an intern (whether or not you’re getting paid), and that is a privilege that must be earned.
I have really cherished my work experiences during my college career and they have truly helped me to be a better student, a better professional, and even a better person. If you follow these three things, I guarantee that you will have success no matter what field you go into.
Thanks for listening,