Intern Drops the Ball: How to Recover from a Mistake

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional

Intern Drops the Ball: How to Recover from a Mistake

This blog is written by Lacey, our campus ambassador from Minnesota State University, Moorhead!

So, if you’re like me, you have a full calendar and about 15 million things running through your head at all times. When you’re juggling that many balls, you’re occasionally going to drop one. Don’t fret; making mistakes translates into life lessons! Here are some ways you can bounce back after you make a mistake.

Recently, I became a total space cadet and forgot to take an online test for one of my classes. I was completely mortified because this was not normal behavior for me—I’m usually very on top of my homework assignments.

Here are some steps I took to correct my mistake:

1.     Communicate! The most important thing I did was contact my professor and let him know I had forgotten to take the test, and that I felt really bad about it.

2.     Apologize and take ownership of the mistake. When I contacted him, I told him it was completely my own fault and that I was sorry I had forgotten, and although I had completed a study guide and worked with a group, I had simply forgotten to submit my answers. I didn’t blame one of my jobs, a different class, or some technological aspect. It was 100% my own fault, and I made it known.

3.     Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I asked him if it was possible to retake the test, even if it was for partial credit, or to do some extra credit work to make up for my oversight. I mostly wanted to prove to him and myself that I had been prepared for the test; I just didn’t submit the answers.

4.     Rectify the situation and don’t let it happen again. He agreed to let me retake the test (YAY!) and so as soon as he made it available, I made sure to take it. I also thanked him for letting me retake the test, and I wouldn’t let this happen again. After that, I set reminders on my phone and wrote in my planner the dates for upcoming tests so that I wouldn’t miss them again.

I think these steps are adaptable—use them when you’re at your internship, job, or in a student organization.

Don’t worry, making a mistake isn’t the end of the world or the end of your career. You’ll bounce back if you fix it!