What should I really take from my internship?

Besides fresh blisters, a reluctant relationship with the local Starbucks barista, and an new entry on your LinkedIn Profile, here are three things you should take from your Summer internship. 

  1. Direction: Whether this internship sent you closer or farther away from what you think you want to be doing, this real world work experience should at least provide you with direction. Some go running from what their internship was, finding that their path actually will lead them elsewhere. However, some find themselves on an even clearer path. Take the time to reflect on which direction this experience has sent you. Then, take a deep breath, and go with it, whether it was what you expected or not.
  2. Relationships: No, it is not what you are thinking.  Come on, we all watched the same awful 80’s sexual harassment video on our first day of work. Through your internship, you should make professional relationships, whether it is with that manager of whom you constantly asked for help, or the fellow intern, stumbling along with you. Keep these relationships strong and keep asking these friends questions.  These are the people who will be able to best answer questions you have not even thought of yet. Don’t forget the bonus couple LinkedIn connections as well.
  3. Appreciation: While working in the real world can be fun at times, man can it be tiring! Participating in a full time, full throttle internship will give you new found appreciation for the education you are getting.  While you enjoyed the real world tease, you are ready to hit the books and learn during that last home stretch. This taste of post graduate life will give you that final push to strive to enjoy every moment of your final school years.
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