Welcome, and thanks for joining me. This is Secret #1: Handling the Basics, from my STRAIGHT TALK GUIDE titled, DOMINATING YOUR INTERNSHIP.
Heading out for an internship is a big step, and as such, it requires some planning steps and specific actions before the start date of your work session.
Giving each step appropriate attention will help ensure that your internship is a successful experience for you, for the company, and for others who you interact with.
Say your goodbyes to peers, friends and family, and consider how you will stay connected.
No doubt, you have lots of friends and family, both inside and outside of school. These are relationships that you’ll want to continue supporting while you’re off on your internship adventure.
Let people know you’ll miss being with them, but invite them to share in the excitement of your upcoming internship by staying connected. Give them some background about the company, the job, and where you’ll be living. If you already have it, share your new contact information with them.
Ask For Their Advice
Be sure to ask others if they have any advice or recommendations about your internship. Who knows, maybe they’ve visited or lived in the area where you’ll be living? Maybe they know someone who works at your company currently, or who interned there in the past.
Support from existing friends, family and relatives can be an important part of a successful internship, especially if it’s your first one.
Where will you live? With whom?
If you won’t be living at home, you’ll need to arrange to rent a place somewhere near your employer. Often times, larger companies will have an agreement with a local apartment complex or with some other kind of housing facility.
If your company doesn’t have housing already arranged, your contact person in Human Resources may be able to give you some tips or ideas based on where past interns have lived. Of course, Google and the Internet can quickly help you with the housing dilemma too.
My Housing Experiences
Over the course of my five 3-month intern sessions in Waterloo, Iowa, I had three different living arrangements:
- During one summer I stayed alone in a local high-rise college dorm room.
- Another time I shared a two bedroom apartment with one of the other engineering interns from my plant.
- For most of my internship work sessions I chose to live alone in a nearby studio apartment.
All three arrangements worked out fine, but my preference was to live alone, even though it was a bit more expensive. Living alone gave me plenty of downtime by myself at the end of each workday and on the weekends, but still allowed me to get together with others when I wanted to.
In order to minimize your costs, sharing an apartment is definitely the best way to go. However, if you’ve ever shared a living space at home or at college, then you already know some of the pros and cons of living with someone else.
My shared apartment living experience was definitely challenging at times, but overall it turned out fine. Let’s just say it taught me a lot about being flexible and how to put up with other people’s unique habits. Admittedly, these are good life skills to learn, especially if you plan to get married someday!
STUFF – Clothing, Equipment & Supplies
Your locale will dictate much of the clothing that you’ll want to have with you for personal activities, but your employer and work environments will guide your wardrobe choices for the workplace.
Many businesses today follow the dress rule of business casual (unlike in the early 80’s for me), but this is a question you’ll want to get answered by your company contact person.
Be sure to also ask about the different work situations and environments you might find yourself in during your internship.
For example, one day you might be “in the field” meeting customers at a job site, the next day you could be indoors working side by side with factory workers, and another day you might be delivering an important project presentation to a management team.
Each of these situations would require very different attire in order for you to maintain the necessary level of professionalism (and safety).
Once you get an idea of what’s needed, make sure you have enough clothing to get you started. Clothing is a basic necessity you’ll want to get handled upfront, so it doesn’t interfere with your work or your performance.
Equipment & Supplies
My reference here to equipment and supplies isn’t so much about your kitchen, bath and general household supplies, but instead it’s about the things you’ll need when you’re relaxing, working, or studying, on your own time.
For example, I would expect these to include a smartphone, a computer or tablet, a printer, and various other electronic devices.
For many of you an XBox, Playstation or other type of game system may be on your list, while some of you may need supplies necessary to support unique hobbies, sports activities or other favorite pastimes.
Unless you’re told ahead of time, you should expect that equipment and supplies needed in the workplace, that are specific to your job, will be provided by your employer.
Admittedly, Secret #1 deals with what seem to be fairly mundane and basic preparation steps, but yet they are important because they play a role in setting you up for success in your internship.
In the next chapter, Secret #2: Goals + Habits = Success, we’ll go through some important mental preparation activities that will also help position your for success.
If desired, you can view this entire post in the video below:
Question: What other basic preparation do you think is necessary before an internship starts? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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