What I Learned From My Summer Interns
Summer has come to end. Maybe not officially, but for us it certainly has as we say goodbye, adios, sayonara, auf wiedersehen to our summer interns.
When we first started talking about a summer internship program, our expectations were to get qualified interns to help us accomplish some in-house summer initiatives. With our recent move, our growing office and ongoing industry changes, we had a lot on our plate.
Going into the summer I had the assumption I would be the teacher and the interns would be the students. But, I was wrong. Dead wrong.
College students today are not like they were 10 or 15 years ago. Students are more driven, have more opportunities and are more on top of what they want to do and where they want to go. Long gone are the days where you went to college to “find yourself”.
While I did learn a few new techniques, what I really learned was more than that. So here are 10 things I learned from my interns this summer.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Our interns came in not knowing our culture, our communication style or how we approach things, but they weren’t afraid to jump into any project, even if it was a foreign idea to them.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sometimes they completely missed the boat on what we were asking for and that was ok because after discussion and dialogue, the next try was better and the try after that even better. They taught me to never stop trying.
- Work smarter not faster. Our interns were incredibly fast compared to me but it wasn’t because they were faster, they were smarter. They taught me a ton of quick tricks to help me navigate through social media or our online client manager, making parts of my job easier.
- Laughter truly is the best medicine. At times we may have had stressful days. By maintaining a good attitude, and finding the humor in even the small things, these stressful days ended up not being too bad. From epic insurance raps to inside jokes, this summer was definitely fun.
- Set goals. We had a lot of talks about goal setting. From blog writing to working with a client or something personal, set goals. It is always good to know why are working towards something.
- Have a game plan. What really impressed me was that each intern had career goals and game plans to go along with them. They strategically took campus jobs, internships and classes to enhance their opportunities upon graduation. No matter what you are trying to do, be strategic and have a game plan.
- Be flexible. Sometimes something comes up requiring us to be flexible. On a very small scale, our interns had to be flexible in their day to day tasks. Many times a goal was set but then it changed. For one intern, she completely shifted her career goals. It was a good life lesson for them and me. We can get so invested in what we are doing it’s hard to admit the route we took is not working and we have to try a different one.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A hard lesson I learned a long time ago was to ask questions. It can be hard to do so when you want to impress the boss. But by not asking questions or assuming something instead of asking for clarification just wastes time and productivity. Our interns were fearless. They asked questions and asked again. It showed they wanted to get it right and reminded us all that questions are a good thing!
- Always dress to impress. Many companies are business casual and most of our clients wear jeans. But not our interns. From their interviews to their day to day dress attire, they dressed well. Even though they were “just interns” they acted professionally. It is easy to forget about professionalism and by watching how they carry themselves it reminded me to do the same.
- Millennials get a bad rap. So after my first interaction working with Millennials I have to say, I think they get a bad rap. Maybe I just got two really awesome interns or maybe, just maybe, Millennials really do have a thing or two going for them and we really can all learn from.
So goodbye dear interns. Best of luck as you move forward in your studies and experiences. We were happy to have you as part of the KFG team and you will be missed. I hope you learned as much as I have. I hope this chapter is one you’ll always remember and cheers to a very successful future.