The time you spend in college as a young woman is as exhilarating as it is terrifying.
You will learn a lot about yourself in the midst of school and social events. The working world is on the horizon, which inevitably means an internship is, too.
You picture your life as an intern to be something like Andy’s in “The Devil Wears Prada,” and at some points, that’s not too far-fetched.
But fear not, young CEO.
You are going to be learning so much about the industry you’ve chosen, as well as what working in it full-time will feel like.
Here are five things your internship is going to teach you about life:
1. You are going to have to work really, really hard.
Your internship is going to show you the harsh reality of what it's like to be a woman in the workplace.
Often times, you are going to have to work twice as hard to get what your male peers are getting. Gaining respect is going to be different for them in many ways, as they are more confident by nature.
As women, we are the first to doubt our abilities, second-guess the quality of our work and refrain from stepping out of our comfort zones.
Push through these natural tendencies and make sure you understand your gender should be empowering, not belittling.
2. You have to act your age and then some.
Your youth is a beautiful thing, and your college years should be spent embracing that wild streak.
But internships are a new ballgame.
More often than not, employers will have a preconceived notion of what your real extracurricular activities are (particularly if they’ve checked out your Facebook).
Being a young person in a company with employees much older than you will be intimidating, but you need to prove your maturity level aligns with theirs.
It's crucial to show your employer that you have the ability to handle not only where you are in life, but also where you want to be in the future, which is working for that company.
3. Self-respect is vital.
If being an intern has taught me one thing, it's that climbing the ladder shouldn’t involve being stepped on.
You will most likely have multiple superiors, and you should show each of them you are there to learn, work and better yourself.
If you feel under-challenged (or just simply used), there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself. The duties of your internship should include more than getting coffee and taking messages.
Remember: You are there to grow as an individual, and you deserve to do just that.
4. Feedback is a beautiful thing.
If you’ve never received feedback in a professional setting before, it will probably feel like a direct attack when you do.
But soon, you’ll learn receiving feedback is an amazing part of your internship. You should take full advantage of it.
The real world may not be so forgiving when you can’t figure out the payroll report to save your life, but an internship will allow you to find out where you need to step up your game.
Feedback will also help you learn what your true strengths are, and how to capitalize on them. Own the feedback you’re given, and embrace it as much as you can.
5. You are so much better than you think.
That is the simple truth.
Taking on an intern is not a small gig for a company. When a company offers you that position, it's a huge deal.
You should take it as just that. You have strong and appealing qualities.
The company is looking to learn just as much from you as you are from it.
You’re going to rock your internship, and look damn good while you do it.
So, go power through all the crazy hours, network until you use LinkedIn as much as Instagram and be sure not to lose your spark along the way.