This form is designed to help you prepare for your internship. It assumes you have already contacted the employer (you want to intern with) and they have accepted for an agreed period of time. It also assumes you have been advised who your supervisor (contact) will be during this time.
Hey new kid. It’s here. You’re in. This is the creative industry and this is your first step on a ladder of ups and downs, highs and lows, and into a community of people who are using creativity to solve problems, right wrongs and generally make the world a better (less boring) place.
Let’s Talk About First Impressions.
You’re in reception, the foyer, the coffee shop next door and you’re meeting your employer – or whoever is your main point of contact for the duration of your internship. Like any first meeting, balance confidence with a respectful ear and listen for important nuggets of information. It doesn’t hurt to start taking notes right from the beginning. Show that you’re interested and that you're taking this opportunity seriously.
One of the keys to success in this program is to try and get you and your employer in sync from day 1. If your employer has sent you their pre-program expectations form, make sure to read the responses they gave. If they didn't send the form through don't worry, by listening actively and asking questions you'll be able to find out their expectations. Look at what they’re hoping to achieve out of this. Write down and plan to work on 2 or 3 things that you think are going to help your employer meet their objectives for the program. Help them to see that you’re in this together.
In your first few days, you want to make yourself known. For the right reasons of course. Be sure to say hello to people in the morning and goodbye in the evening. 101? Absolutely. But sometimes when we’re in new situations it’s easier to hide away than to get noticed. While you might feel a little uncomfortable, remember that saying hello and goodbye and introducing yourself to colleagues is just normal acceptable behaviour.
In the next couple of weeks, depending on the size of the company, you might meet a lot of people. Which means remembering a lot of names and a lot of roles. You could take notes again, or if you’re conscious of being Notebook Nelly, memorise as much as you can and then go back to your desk and draw a mini-seat plan of the office with the names and roles of the people you met. This is also pretty handy for remembering people’s names in meetings.
At the end of your first 2 weeks, you should start to form a picture of who’s who in the office, the types of roles that people have, and what’s expected of them. It’s a great time to take stock. It may have felt like a whirlwind with lots to take in, so now it’s worth checking in with yourself.
Check In With Yourself
How are you feeling about the experience so far? Is it what you expected? Have you uncovered things that you didn’t realise happened or existed? Do you want to know more about them? Who would you like to spend more time with? What would you like to work on? Which projects have you learned about that most excite you? Who can tell you more about them?
Asking yourself these questions is the perfect way to move into the next phase of your program and make sure that you keep some control over what you want. Work out a plan to get these questions answered and don’t be afraid to share them with your employer.
If things aren’t going to plan, reach out to a friend, mentor, or the Never Not Creative community. At the end of the day, this experience has to work for you. Not every program is perfect and so there’s no shame in speaking up and walking away if something unfair or unreasonable is happening.
Enjoy the next few months and make the most of it!