This blog post was written by Brian Ashburn, our Campus Ambassador from Minnesota State University Moorhead.
When pursuing an internship, everyone tells you to work hard, make connections, and ask questions. All of those actions are important, but coming from an intern, there are some things I didn’t anticipate that would’ve been nice to know ahead of time. Here are some tips I wish I have picked up:
Bring extra clothes- If there is one thing I’ve learned as an intern, it’s that a spare set of clothes is always needed. I work in New Orleans, which is hot and muggy every day. After picking up trash for three hours in a hundred-degree weather, I was desperate for a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. When your goal is to maintain professionalism each and every day, its imperative to be prepared… you never know when you’ll need to whip out a tie.
Food for thought- One way to make connections is to bring a boss or co-worker to lunch. At the film studio, I have met countless producers, cameramen, actors, casting agents. If there is someone whose job interests you, make the effort to buy him or her lunch. That gives you an hour to pick their brain and ask a lot of questions. The few times I have done this, I have learned so much all while solidifying a connection I can use later in life. Plus they all bought the lunch, so it’s a win-win.
Write things down- A simple concept, but in the midst of a casting call, a plumbing problem, and a feature film, it is hard to take a minute and write down instructions your boss gives you. You might remember to call Phil with construction and have him move truck seven from Lot A, but if something else comes up, it can easily be forgotten. Jot things down and make life a lot easier. Moreover, I kept a journal of sorts, cataloguing all the things I did throughout the summer. When it comes time to add this to my resume or discuss my experiences in an interview, I will have notes that describe everything I did.
Take time for you- Being dedicated to your internship is very important, but it’s also important to make sure you maintain your sanity. Take some time to re-coup, stay healthy, and relax. Like school, if stress becomes overwhelming, it will hurt you in the long run. I take a day every other week to indulge in a New Orleanian cuisine I might not experience in Minnesota.
And if all these tips fail, adapt. Nothing is written in stone, things change all the time. A great intern has the ability to go with the flow and work hard under any circumstances.