What I learnt from my Internship
A bit about me...
University, what an amazing experience. A place where I learnt everything I needed to secure my first professional role in my chosen industry.... Not quite.
Uni has been the best 4 years I’ve ever had (not quite finished yet!), but it definitely didn’t teach me everything I needed for starting my first post graduate job.
On a base level, of course it taught me loads in terms of theory from (sport) marketing to business management and economics. However in terms of practical applications from the perspective of ‘proper work’ it kind of lacked the nuts and bolts.
Then I had the opportunity to do a placement and gain my own internship as a module. This is where I found myself applying for any opportunities listed through my Uni hub. Eventually through asking for advice within my own network, I was encouraged to reach out to Mike and 43 Clicks North.
So what did I learn from my internship?
1. No such thing as a STUPID question
So before starting or finding out what I would be getting up to for my internship, I presumed that I would have a fair bit of knowledge in areas, especially after all that studying I’d done (and debt I'd accumulated)… quickly I was brought back down to Earth. Which was absolutely no bad thing and I found myself having to ask Who, What, Why and How to everything. Now I’m someone who is pretty useless at asking for help, but being exposed to this environment encouraged a change here.
Having the confidence to ask, what sometimes felt like a silly question, allowed me to firstly understand what people were talking about, but also to build relationships with different people across departments which is key!
2. Time Management
Managing my time, another area I never conquered whilst at Uni. As someone who fully engrossed themselves in the Uni lifestyle of going to sleep at 4am and waking up in the late afternoon and having breakfast, it's fair to say I never mastered time management.
However after starting my internship it was clear that I needed to firstly sort out my routine and get into the swing of planning out my days and tasks that needed completing. I find myself writing a lot of ‘To Do’ lists each morning which keep me directed with what I’m doing. This is definitely something I’m still figuring out but practice makes perfect. Oh, and I have a more normal sleeping pattern now!!
3. The benefits of Feedback
Receiving both positive and negative feedback is a part of life, not just work. But being able to act constructively on areas that haven’t worked very well is vital. As part of my internship I was given various tasks to complete, and then allowed to work out for myself how to achieve the desired outcomes.
Receiving constructive feedback here allowed me to further understand areas and processes within the organisation, as well as being able to complete similar tasks to a higher standard in the future. Now by no means am I a finished article, but compared to my first day, I think I’ve developed a lot.
Communication is often described as key to success within the professional environment. Which I would say is probably even more important now, when you factor in people working from home and not always being in the office and around each other. Speaking to my manager and other team members over Whatsapp, Slack and Video Calls is an integral part of work.
Firstly it was vital for discussing tasks, but also for understanding what everyone in different departments was doing and how they could help me and my projects. Through asking lots of questions and utilising my feedback I believe my communication has improved, which in the long run has helped with my productivity, engagement and growth
Get motivated, look at the opportunity you’ve got in front of you - If you’ve been able to gain a placement, firstly WELL DONE!!! And secondly, don’t relax, you’ve only just got your foot in the door. My last bit of advice would be to say yes to anything and everything.
Now I’m not saying to become chief tea maker, but if someone asks if you want to help them out with something or get in touch with potential leads/clients - something that you’ve never done before or that is out of your comfort zone. Go for it, throw yourself in at the deep end. By doing so you’ll firstly be showing your potential employer your drive and initiative, but also in terms of your own personal growth it’ll be massive and a huge learning experience. Who knows, you might even land your first paid role!