How to overcome internship anxiety
What you need to know:
- Get to know the new interns or recently hired employees as they easily resonate with the issues that you are facing.
- There is no shame in being vulnerable with another person and building a connection. Use your experiences to help build each other.
- While at it, try to develop professional relationships with other colleagues in the office. Don’t be a people pleaser, be easy to work with and complete assigned tasks.
Internships offer great opportunities to students and recent graduates seeking to gain hands-on experience as they begin their careers. However, adapting to the corporate culture and relating with intimidating or highly experienced colleagues can be difficult in a professional environment.
Feeling nervous about the new role is completely normal. It may take a period of familiarisation to completely get the hang of things. Instead of dwelling on your fears and insecurity, look at it more as a learning experience – an extension of your school coursework.
Here are tips on how to successfully wade through internship.
1. Be eager to learn
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask questions about literally anything you don’t know or are unsure of. This shows that you care and are trying to learn. You learn on the job and your success will be dependent on how much you are willing to push yourself. Actively make yourself the mentee of your co-worker or employer by shadowing him or her. This is done by closely observing the work they do and trying to understand how and why it’s done. Most mentors just want to see that you are capable and willing to grow.
2. Write everything down
Carry a notepad with you everywhere you go and jot down notes of passwords that you are required to memorise, names, positions and your job duties. Taking notes while shadowing your employer or co-worker is also a great way to help you remember what you are taught. Whenever you are in a meeting, take notes. This way your employer will see that you are paying attention and are engaged from day one. This will also not only help you keep track of things you should learn but also what goals you need to accomplish.
3. Establish relationships
Get to know the new interns or recently hired employees as they easily resonate with the issues that you are facing. There is no shame in being vulnerable with another person and building a connection. Use your experiences to help build each other. While at it, try to develop professional relationships with other colleagues in the office. Don’t be a people pleaser, be easy to work with and complete assigned tasks. Whenever you are idle, network with your colleagues either through lunch or during office hangouts, but avoid office politics. Such co-workers are not only good resources but also greatly beneficial when you need a reference.
4. Create a schedule and adhere to it
Fix a working time and stick to it by focusing your energy on the work given to you. Your employer will come up with possible deadlines, so adjust your schedule to ensure that you don’t work beyond the work time that you have set for yourself. This constitutes making a plan of everything you need to do and allocating each task to a specific time slot. This way, it is much harder to fall behind or forget to do something. You will also not work beyond the timeline that you have set.
5. Talk to someone
Ranting to a family member or a close friend about a bad work day relieves stress. Look for someone who can give you a supporting ear and listen to you. If you are uncomfortable with this, then write it down somewhere. Write to yourself about the issue and why it is stressing you. Alternatively, exercise or take a walk around your neighbourhood so as to tire yourself out. You can also organise for hangouts with your friends or plan trips during the weekends so as to relieve the work tension.