Six months ago, I was a senior at Johnson & Wales University trying to ignore the daunting task in front of me which I had been putting off for the previous three years of my undergrad education: doing my internship. I had heard the horror stories from students of internships past and had seen my fair share of BuzzFeed videos about why internships were basically a modern day form of forced labor for the poor, struggling college students of America.
But alas, the time had come for me to complete an internship in my field or else in five months time I wouldn’t get to join my peers in walking across the stage with my face plastered on every big screen, and a smile plastered on my face. The days of ignoring the elephant in the room were over.
In a moment of panic at Small Point Cafe.
After spending the next two months frantically searching for internships, my stress levels were higher than I imagined possible. It’s amazing what you can do when procrastination and pressure collide.
I had secured a few interviews and found myself once again being able to breathe. With the initial pressure of getting companies to want me off my back, I began to really assess my options and pick the place that felt most aligned with my own work ethics and values. Within a few weeks time I had officially locked down Figmints as the place I’d be spending the next three months trying to survive my internship, little did I know that by the end of those three months I’d actually love working at Figmints and want to stay.
Cool mug swag I recieved on my first day. I also got a sweatshirt and a t shirt.
Flash forward to my first day of the internship. With a gleam in my eye and a mountain of butterflies in my stomach I opened the door to the place I’d be calling home (or erm, work rather) for the time being. I met the team, got a crash course in all the office softwares and web platforms, and within three hours of walking in the door on my first day I was asked to help set up for my first in-house video shoot.
This was what I had been waiting for.
The day I could get my hands on real video equipment, in a real video shoot setting!
My entire life leading up to this moment I had been told that “one day you’ll be doing what you really want to be doing and all this other crap will have been worth it”. But here I was! Doing what I wanted to be doing, on the very first day of my internship at, what was the company called again? Oh yeah, Figmints!
Needless to say, my enthusiasm for my video internship skyrocketed from then on. I was no longer afraid of the work I would be doing, the connections I would be making, or the long hours I would be putting into this experience. I welcomed the challenges, made as many LinkedIn connections as possible, and from then on started doing whatever I could to show the company that I was worth keeping around.
I began to feel that same anxiety I used to feel about initially getting an internship when I would think about leaving Figmints once my internship had ended. I started dropping hints here and there to people at the company, letting them know how much I loved working here and how I could really see myself working at a place like Figmints.
On top of the massive hint dropping, I had to back up my words with actions. Taking initiative when I saw the opportunity to, speaking more in meetings, planning out my own video projects. I wanted the company to see that it wouldn’t be a waste of their time to invest in me. For three months I sweat out the day I’d have to leave this fantastic opportunity, only growing to love it more and more with each passing day. If they didn’t hire me, they were probably going to have to drag me out of the office on my last day because I just couldn’t imagine myself leaving.
Anyone who’s ever gotten the job of their dream or even just a job that they really reallyyyyy wanted during the time being knows that hearing the words, “We’d like to hire you” are the keys to every girl’s heart. On May 6th, two weeks before my internship was officially scheduled to end, I was presented with my offer to hire letter. Aside from the parade of happiness going on internally, I felt myself once again be able to breathe after what seemed like an unbearably vague three months. My hard work had paid off! This must be the stuff of dreams though right?! With all those internship horror stories out there, how did I get off so easy?
The truth? It wasn’t easy. There were times during my internship where I really panicked about my own abilities. Whether or not I was actually qualified to be working in a fast paced agency like this one.
I saw so many of my friends unhappy with their own internship situations, I heard their horror stories of long hours of office boredom, terrible supervisors, and companies tanking; all that negative energy really brought me down at times. But no amount negative thoughts could wave the rush of adrenaline I’d get every time my supervisor would put me in charge of a camera, that feeling alone was enough to help me work hard till the end, and I’d say it paid off.
I guess the whole point of this Hercules inspired blog post is this: you’re going to hear a lot of people’s opinions and personal experiences when it comes to internships, but in the end it doesn’t matter how they liked theirs or where they did it.
Your internship experience is YOUR internship experience, all that matters is that YOU make it count. Good luck out there!
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