4 Lessons My Internship Taught Me

December 20, 2016

1. Speak up.

I’ve never had a problem talking (seriously, anyone who’s met me will agree), but as the new person in the office it was different. Independent Colleges of Indiana is a small non-profit with about a dozen people in the office, so they would have noticed if I never talked. I realized very quickly that I was a part of the team, even if I was just the intern. My supervisors wanted my input and ideas, and one of my questions saved us from making a big mistake in our annual Guidebook. I should never be afraid to speak up, because my voice adds value to the conversation.

2. Keep learning.

I will graduate in May, but my learning will not end then. I will never know it all, because technology is constantly changing and there is too much information out there to absorb. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try. Perfection is not the goal – it was improvement and progress. My coworkers attend conferences, watch webinars, and ask others for help constantly. I even taught them about how Twitter works and how to use Google Forms (such a good invention). Remember to learn from every day and every situation during your internship.

3. Network.

ICI works with 31 colleges and dozens more non-profits and coalitions and companies. I have met amazing people during my internship, and connected with some of them on LinkedIn or traded business cards with them. These connections are the beginning of relationships that can benefit both parties. They might need to be connected to someone I know, and I might need some advice about my upcoming job hunt. Meeting people is also good practice for interviews, which can be nerve-wracking. Every person you meet impacts your life, so make sure the impression is a good one.

4. Take initiative.

I started new projects during my time here at ICI, like this blog. Whenever I cross everything off on my to-do list, I look for more things to accomplish. Asking other coworkers if I can assist them in their projects is another way I stay busy. I’ve learned that you cannot expect a passive internship to be a good experience. Throw yourself in and you will learn so much more than if you wait.

Katie Goodrich

Meet Katie, the summer 2016 ICI intern: I’m Katie Goodrich, a senior journalism major at an ICI member campus. I believe in grammar, justice and the right to ice cream. I am fluent in English, sarcasm and gibberish. My talents include an incredible memory for ’90s song lyrics, power naps and having just enough bad luck to produce great anecdotes.