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The truth about being an intern

Posted by Michaela
min read
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Advice for anyone considering an internship whilst studying

We’ve all seen it, we’ve all heard it, the cinematic depiction of an intern as the coffee runner, the professional photocopier, the unpaid servant. But what is it really like?

I had the opportunity to intern for people2people recruitment in 2020, the year where the entire structure of workplaces across Australia changed. Whilst working from home was an entire challenge within itself, I’m here to tell you what it’s really like to be an intern for a business in the city, when you take away the skyrise buildings and revolving doors and experience only the essence of the position.

The opportunities are endless

Working as an intern can give you that extra edge when applying for jobs in your desired field, but it can also give you invaluable experience in a way you will never be offered as a full time employee. Working at people2people, I have been given opportunities to “choose your own adventure” and decide on some of the tasks I would like to get involved in. A company wants to learn from you, as much as you want to learn from them; after all, your unique combination of expertise and experience is something no one else can offer. So never sit back and wait for your next task to be given, go out, find it, ace it.

It isn’t as easy as it seems

If you’re planning on taking on an internship with the intention of riding off everyone else's coat tails and working minimal hours a week, it may not be the opportunity for you. Being an intern holds a great sum of responsibility; you are often trusted with tasks that directly impact the company and their reputation. Particularly if you are working from home, you may feel a little disconnected from the team and overall brand, walking into a pre-established organisation. But it is important to understand that the work you do can have a large and lasting impact on the company.

Time isn’t infinite

This can be taken in two ways, firstly your internship won’t last forever, so make an impact while you can! Whether you attend 1 day a week or 5, the time you have with your organisation will absolutely fly by. So don’t wait for your next work day to do that project or ask that question.

Secondly, your time management skills will be imperative, particularly if you are studying and working whilst undertaking an internship. Personally, some days I was working 14hrs between my internship and part time job, with Uni assignments fitting in around this, so be prepared to be a busy bee if you have other commitments in your schedule.

Should you become an intern?

Absolutely. The only answer is absolutely.

Michaela was an intern with people2people Victoria in 2020.