Looking to boost your career and skill knowledge but don’t know where to start? How about doing an internship?
It can be tough as you near the end of your college years to think about an internship versus a holiday away. As a millennial, there is that pressure to aspire to perfection, to be confident, curious, beautiful, smart, talented and witty. At times, I found this label to be limiting as perfection is difficult to attain.
During my internship, I learned this as I completed different tasks both those directly related to my career and some not. From these tasks, I learned that rather than aiming for perfection at all tasks, real learning occurs from trial and error.
From this placement, I obtained a real behind the scenes view of how an organisation is run and maintained to ensure transparency and that the client’s needs are met. This involved at times juggling multiple tasks and dealing with the frustrations that come with them. During this stage I found myself attempting to move between different tasks in the name of multi-tasking.
However, research suggests that this can cause an overload of the brain’s processing capacity which can cause burnout and a slower brain.
To overcome this, I had to learn to stay self-aware and take pauses in between tasks. These pauses were as simple as briefly stepping away from my desk to do some 2 minute breathing techniques. From my experience another thing to watch out for is stress, although this is a part of daily life, we can only handle so much.
Taking at least two pauses daily to reboot my brain and body became a minimum requirement. I also suggest taking walking breaks, if possible. It is important to regularly check in with ourselves to ensure that we grow as a person and focus on things that enrich our life and help us to maintain good physical and mental wellbeing.
As I get to the end of my internship, it is strange to think that my time here is up. I encountered some challenges that I needed to solve in order to complete the tasks, for example, learning the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. These lessons helped me to further understand myself and others which allowed me to incorporate the theories that I learnt in college into the workplace.
Being an intern in an organisation like MyMind where there was such a great team spirit and a space for growth and self awareness made this placement memorable. Just by observing how the team interacted and worked, I learned so much more about the different careers than I’ve ever read in a textbook.
So to people interested in doing an internships, I would say go for it. Learning out in the field is invaluable and an unforgettable experience. My internship allowed me to not only see a clear path forward but also to appreciate the wide range of knowledge that I already had from my studies.
As far as advice I would give to future interns, they are as follows;
1. Ask questions: the only way to learn new things is to be curious and reach out to others when in doubt.
2. Be positive: It is so easy to slip into negative self talk in the workplace and sometimes, it’s okay to fake it till you make it. However, you need to know your limit and when it is time to ask for help.
3. Dress professionally: This depends on your internship setting. In my opinion, I found dressing how I wanted to be addressed rather than to a trend to be uplifting and confidence building.
4. Be open to anything that comes your way. You can’t always compare your past to your future.
5. Be persistent: sometimes it takes time to learn a new skill and it can take immense patience to keep trying or to take a break and come back to it again but it is through perseverance that we can overcome the challenges.
So in closing, as I close this chapter of my professional journey, I look forward to opening new doors and taking each day step by step because although “every story has an end, every end is a new beginning” – Unknown
By MyMind Intern Cynthia Ebere-Anaba