A Guide to Being a Perfect Intern

During this lockdown period, we have seen many students struggling to grow by developing work experience. On the path to finding an internship, students often forget to think about its consequences. This guide has been made in partial fulfilment of providing support to a struggling newbie.

Every college student is always in search of the “perfect” first internship. However, in the rat race, they often forget about the “perfection” in it. Being an intern can indeed give you significant work experience but we must not sideline the fact that internships can make or break your career. Therefore, picking the right internship is what we require at any point in time. In a bustle to gain experience, we must not be entangled within the maze of internships. 

 Right from Internshala to LinkedIn, there are numerous sources from where students treasure hunt their internships. Choosing the right internship is very much analogous to Indian Matchmaking. We will be offered an ocean of choices from which we should selectively choose those, which suits our goals and aspirations. Picking any random internship just to add it in your resume will make it nothing but a mere showpiece. 

The Guide to Being the Perfect Intern has its first rule as ‘Choosing the job you could picture yourself doing’. We have seen people choose an internship just for the sake of doing it. That is the first mistake you make. The quintessential intern is someone who can choose the right internship, meet the requirements, learn throughout the process and get some valuable takeaways from it. To successfully clear this hurdle, one should be patient and wait for their turn by filtering internships through the sieve of their choice. 

“First-year students tend to join for internships which apparently gives them exposure. However, we must develop the capacity to figure out right and wrong and be picky to not get trapped within the shackles of toxic internships”

Undergraduates are now in pursuit of a breakthrough to their career and hence they fall easily for a fancy job description. It is high time we realize that the job description we read should not only give a clear picture of the internship but also be suited for the career path we choose to tread on. We must keep in mind that recruiters constantly measure an intern’s potential and try to reduce the risk of recruitment by cutting cost. This should remind us that internships have a toxic legacy of the global recession which was caused by job seekers who were willing to work for free and recruiters who offered a job without paying the employee.

Indeed, the toxicity of internships has always been ignored. Toxic internships are those which have can pull you down and discourage you. It squeezes the energy out of you and gives nothing in return.  This might be due to an intimidating or deterring attitude of the boss towards subordinates. Often we come across leads or heads who displays superior behaviour. By exhibiting superficial empathy, they tactfully make you work far beyond your limit. This takes a whole new route when the work turns out to be different from what you sought. One might also suffer from being unnoticed or coerced to work with inadequate compensation and competitive colleagues. Even during these extreme situations, interns find it very difficult to quit the job due to fear of a superior officer or lack of confidence. Therefore, one must always be ready to take the right action at the right time to facilitate the learning process. It is only from such failures that we get to taste success. 

Keeping in mind that one failed internship will not decide your future if the first step towards success. To embrace this thought, one must consider an internship to be a platform that gives us much-needed exposure and at the same time enable a fun learning process that can initiate growth. We should be conscious and not grab the first opportunity that comes our way but instead, pause to think twice and contemplate on it before you apply. This guide ends on the note that “Patience is indeed a virtue, hold fast to it to gain control over your success”.

Feature Image Credits: Outside Colby

Vaishnavi Varier