How to Turn a Bad Internship Into a Positive One

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How to Turn a Bad Internship Into a Positive One

Lately, I've been trying something new that I like to call IQ Skype-ins. Basically, I have partnered with various clubs and organizations on various campuses across the country to "Skype-In" to one of their already scheduled meetings. 

This week, I have Skyped-in to meetings at Binghamton University, and FIT and will also be talking to Simpson College and UC Irvine later this week. While conducting one of these virtual events a student asked me the following question: 

How do you take a bad internship and turn it into a positive one?

I broke my answer down into 3 parts for this question:

  • First I told the student that first they have to define what  a bad internship means to them. If you're uncomfortable in any way, shape or form, get out of there. Do what you need to do to advocate for yourself. 
  • Second, if you don't like the work, my advice would be to speak to your supervisor. If for some reason you feel that you can't do that, bring your career center in. They can help you with this situation. Remember, they are there to help you with anything that has to do with internships. Remember to talk to your supervisor privately. Don't do it in front of everyone. At our office we have an open, shared, small space and if one of our interns wanted to talk to us everyone would hear what they have to say and that would come across as unprofessional. In that conversation, be proactive and let them know what you'd want to do. Say something like: "I heard you were working on this, can I help with that project?" Tell your supervisor what you like doing. A lot of times intern supervisors are really busy and don't realize that you don't love what you are doing and they are probably more than happy to have you  help them with other projects. 
  • And finally in this third situation if you feel like you are sitting in the corner and not doing anything my advice for this is very similar to the situation above. Definitely talk to your supervisor and tell them what you'd like to work on. Again, it's all about speaking up. We recently had our mid-way evaluations with our interns and the #1 piece of advice we gave them was to speak up and let us know what they like doing. We are always more than happy to involve them more in the kinds of projects that will give them the experience that will help them in their careers. In this situation you can say something like:

"Hi Lauren I wanted to talk to you because I noticed that you are going to be filming more YouTube videos. Can I help prepare with the production process for that? I watch a lot of YouTube videos  and would love to help with this specific project" 

Trust me all it takes is for you to speak up. 

Hope this advice helps you with your internship. Remember that it's very important to always communicate with your supervisors in any situation. 

Are you part of an organization or club and would like me to "skype-in" to one of your meetings? Email and we can make it happen! 


Lauren Berger 

The Intern Queen