Ahhh, it’s that time of the summer.
The pictures on your small intern desk-in-a-closet are coming down, and you’re looking forward to what summer used to be like before you had to start growing up.
Your internship is ending. But now what? You worked for a company one day and now it’s just over?
Perhaps you’ll be in for a short vacation now, or just for some time to enjoy the sunshine. Either way, a part of your life is coming to a close. Whether you loved, hated, or were indifferent toward your internship, here are a few rules you should live by:
1. Remember that you’re representing your school, whether you like it or not.
If you were an intern who came in late, sat on Reddit all day, and left an hour early when you thought no one was watching, it reflects on your school, rather than just on you.
Employers will remember you as student X from university Y and may not want to hire any other students from your program. If you’re going to be a lousy intern, remember that you could be affecting other students who will actually want to work there in the future. Represent the program you came from well, and remember that an internship is greater than just you.
2. An opportunity is an opportunity is an opportunity.
Internships, like jobs, are hard to come by. Although it’s tempting to blow off work towards the last few days of your internship, hang in there.
Often times, the last work you do will be what your employers remember you by. Last impressions can be almost as important as your first ones. Leave a mark on the company and go out doing your best work. If you have a last presentation or project (typical of many internships), make sure you’re well prepared. Practice and anticipate any questions that employers may have.
3. Be thankful.
Send thank-you notes. It’s nice to feel appreciated, and your manager will certainly feel the same way.
As you leave, thank them for the opportunity. Make sure to mention some moments that were especially pivotal in your internship (make it personable!) Shake hands with people you have been working with, and say goodbye to your office co-workers, even if you just saw them in passing a few times. It’s better to say thank you to too many people than to just abruptly leave.
4. Be in touch.
You never know what connections your manager may have within a company, with similar companies in the same area, or with employers in different cities.
Your boss has been working for a while and knows a lot of people. Remember to keep in touch with these contacts in case you need anything down the line. Whether it’s a reference, a letter of recommendation, or just to ask a question about the work you did there, leave them with a method of getting in touch with you. Take note of their email address in case you need to reach them later.
Keeping in touch after your internship will show that you really cared about the work that you did and the company that you worked for. However, also remember your boundaries. Don’t constantly email your manager, but be straight and to the point if you ever do contact them.
5. Don’t stop asking questions.
Just because your internship is ending doesn’t mean that you’re a master at anything.
If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask. I still ask my boss plenty of questions each day, even though I’ve been there for more than a month. Questions show your boss that you’re interested in learning and care about the work you do. People learn everyday, and you are no exception.
6. Do enjoy your summer.
You may only have a few weeks before you go back to school. Enjoy a work-free environment and rest up for another long semester.
Do something to celebrate the hard work you did this summer. Remember, you won’t get vacations like this once you enter “the real world.”
Do you have any advice for interns? Share in the comments below!