By Asa St Lawrence, American Majority Intern
Whether you are interning on Capitol Hill or your local political office, internships can be scary and nerve racking. Walking in to the office on the first day can overwhelm even the most stable of people. So here are 7 tips from a former rookie intern.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- First and foremost, don’t be afraid to ask and learn on the spot. People would rather have you ask and learn a task the right way rather than act like you know how to do a job and be found lacking. Ask questions.
2. Seek your boss and your supervisors out
- Similarly, ask for help and advice from your supervisors or department heads. Your boss is busy, but that doesn’t mean he/she does not want to help you. Most superiors are understanding and want the best for you. In fact, many leaders began as interns. Your boss is your golden ticket. Their recommendation or advice can be the difference between promotion and advancement or stagnation and regret. It can either be your golden ticket to a dream career, or it can set you back years. Leaders possess a wealth of knowledge and information. Ask them to coffee or lunch in a time that works for them to try to glean and learn from them. You’ll find that most are more than happy to help you out.
3. Look for extra opportunities to help anywhere
- Serving is a great attitude to have that can help you anywhere in life, but it is especially useful in an internship. Interns should be willing and wanting to help wherever needed. Assisting outside of your field gives you an opportunity to meet new people that you would not have met and gives you a chance to be useful to others and the organization.
4. Help in areas outside your designated area
- Although you are helping people in other areas, it can help you the most. Seeking additional opportunities outside your allotted field might grow and stretch you as a person to become a more well-rounded individual, and you may also find different things you like to do as a result. Some fields of work that you may have initially ruled out can turn into your next favorite thing. Those opportunities can turn into your career path or your next exciting project.
5. Explore the city
- If you are in DC, you will have more of an opportunity than most to take advantage of everything the city has to offer. From the National Mall to the Monuments, there is no shortage of exciting places to visit. But even if you are not in the Nation’s Capital you should still have fun exploring all the local attractions.
6. Make friends with other interns
- Your fellow interns will be with you for the long haul! They can relate with you like no one else. They know the life, the struggles, the ups, the downs, and everything in between. You may see them everyday for the duration of the internship, so you might as well learn to like them. You may end up making life-long friends.
7. Fail Forward
- If you are not failing, you aren’t growing. Internships aren’t easy, and you will fail along the way. But you can learn to turn those failures into positive growth steps. That will help you exponentially as you go along your career path. Turn those struggles into to learning and success opportunities. Author John Maxwell asserted, “If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t taking enough risks.” Others, Like Billionaire Sara Blakely, ask one simple question every night: “What did I fail at today?” Learn how to fail forward.