Look at you landing your first internship! All that hustle finally paid off.
You are one in a million – just like the 20 other interns starting on the same day. How is a girl supposed to stand out? The competition may be fierce, but have no fear because your very own Haute Mess intern fairy is on your side and ready to share a few insider tips that will help you shine bright (like a diamond).
So, before you start your first day and dazzle the whole office with that killer smile, here is what you need to know:
Google before you ask.
You know how teachers have always told you there are no stupid questions? Definitely not true anymore.
In the age of “let me Google that for you” you should be taking the initiative to find out the answers to your questions before you ask. If you cannot figure it out by doing a little bit of research, then approach your manager with the question. Trust me, you will be doing yourself, and the overworked intern manager, a favor AND you will feel empowered that you solved your own problem.
Add to the conversation.
Now that you have taken the initiative to find out the answers/solutions to your conundrums, whenever possible lean in and add insightful thoughts and ideas to the conversation.
Don’t be disheartened if they aren’t used or seriously considered, the important thing is that you are making the effort to add to the conversation. Scared to share? Have no fear!
Come up with 5 thoughts you can share before the meeting and find ways to interject them naturally into the conversation. This will help take away the fear and anxiety of having to come up with something on the spot.
Don’t expect hand holding.
Starting anything new can be quite scary and as much as you hope to have someone there gently coaxing you along, no one is going to hold your hand during your internship. You will be expected to take the initiative (this word keeps popping up everywhere – it must be important!) and use your problem solving skills to figure shit out.
This isn’t high school. This isn’t a college class. This is real work experience that is going to help you land that first job post graduation. And a girl these days needs all the experience she can get before leaving the safety of school.
Don’t cover up mistakes.
If you only remember one thing from this list, this is it: don’t cover up your mistakes. Let me make this clear: you are going to make at least one or two mistakes during your internship and it is probably going to feel like the end of the world. It won’t be though, but it will be scary admitting to your boss that you messed up. Not admitting it could be even more disastrous.
Instead of covering it up, come to your boss with a solution or two on how to resolve the mistake(s) you made.
Fake it til’ you make it.
Confidence, when you are starting something new, has to be developed. So, what it comes down to really is you are going to have to fake it til’ you make it. Cut yourself some slack and know that skills take time to be developed – which is why you are doing an internship in the first place. You aren’t going to know everything all at once.
If you have to give yourself a pep talk, do a power pose, or leave inspirational notes on your steering wheel, then do it.
Leave the cocky at the door.
Tame the fierceness for a bit and stay humble. This doesn’t mean you can’t be your fabulous girl boss self. What it does mean is learn to take criticism and learn from those you are working with.
Repeat after me: Stay Humble, Hustle Hard – this is going to be your new mantra. Now print it out and tape it onto your steering wheel in your car as a daily reminder.
Have an internship emergency kit.
Be prepared and carry an intern emergency kit with you (or leave in your desk/car). Trust me, this will come in handy when you least expect it. Here are a few ideas to take with you:
Small pack of baby wipes
Stain remover pen
Notepad & pen
Snacks (protein bars, etc)
Backup phone charger
Backup computer charger
Chocolate (because trust me, you will need this)
Finally, remember to just breathe.
There will be times when you feel out of place. There will be times when you feel inadequate. There will be times when you feel so tired and overwhelmed that you just want to curl up in a ball and cry. These are the times that you need to take a step back and simply breathe. Spend a few alone hours (maybe invite your bff Pinot Noir) and de-stress.
There is nothing too small or too big that is going to come your way that you will not be able to handle.
Every setback, every time we face a challenge, we have the opportunity to grow and build our character. Learning to manage these stressful times now when you are learning will benefit you years down the road.
This article originally appeared on TheHauteMess.com