I have said it before and I will say it again: sadly, summer is coming to a close. So, there is no time like the present to reflect on it right!? Let’s take a journey through your summer internship. How do you decide if it was worth it? Was it worth your time, your efforts, your free labor? Here are a few simple steps to help you decide.
- Look at the cost versus the benefit. How many hours did you work? Where did you work? A lot? Not much? Somewhere in the middle? BUT, how much did you gain; either monetary or experience. Personal example my internship called for approximately 10 hours a week, unpaid. However, the experience I gained from the opportunity was priceless. A few things I learned were how to effectively market a product using social networking like Twitter and Facebook; provide feedback as well as look at mock-up websites or product logos with a critical eye; and that it is ok to make a mistake as long as you learn from it.
- Evaluate your relationships. How would you rate your boss on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best)? We you in agreement with the decisions and business practices of your boss? Did you respect the way situations were handled and did her/her share the same mutual respect for you? Personal example: I felt and still do feel very involved in the company/product I worked with this summer. I receive update emails regularly and have been included on teleconference calls with the board of advisors and was able to speak and share my thoughts. Additionally, I know I have made a long-term contact with not only my boss but with the company. I feel as though I was a part of its building and whenever I look back on it and see its progress I will know I was a part of it and that is where my real hands-on learning/experience began. In other words, I will know who and what to thank!
- Remain in contact. Once your internship ends, do you feel a desire to remain in contact with your product/task and/or boss? Do you feel connected to it in some way? Personal example: in years to come I plan on looking back on my internship company and seeing how far it progressed after my time. In fact, I plan on checking on it and even using it within the next academic year!
- Resume. Do you feel as if your resume deserves a new section called Internships? Did you learn enough and perform well enough to add this to your resume and as a possible reference? Do you feel that you, even in a short period of time, required a wealth of skills to utilize in the academic setting but also in the real world (like for your next internship or job)? Personal example: My summer internship was my first formal one. It was a very positive experience and provided me with a wonderful sense of the real world, accelerating my drive even more to do my best and get out there and make my mark as soon as possible.
All in all, summer and/or any internships are great. They provide everyone with valuable learning experience, especially in the area of communication. However, I will leave you with my one line of caution before accepting an internship: get a BlackBerry before your internship!