An intern’s thoughts on how to gain respect for the past while appreciating the future. 

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As an intern, come in with your skills. From there, your job is to be a sponge. It is imperative that you should take on the responsibility of being prepared. However, preparedness is not the same as expecting yourself to be as efficient as an employee who has been there for 10+ years. I recently had a chat with my parents for being “too easy” on my younger brother. After I stated my full case as to why they were parenting incorrectly, my dad politely said “Are you done? Great. When you are a parent, find a perfect manual on ‘How to raise 16-year-old boys.’ Then I will take your advice.”  We laughed, but in my head I said “Let me Google that for you.” There are two lessons needed to be taken from this anecdote.

1. Until you have had the experience, don’t pretend you know what you’re talking about.

2. I am thankful I live in a day and age that has access to Google

Which brings me to my next point. Praise be unto Google. If you are a person who says their daily thanks, I implore you to add Google to the list. For it has saved us all from looking highly uneducated.

Make sure the company you are interning for takes you as seriously as you take them:

I am currently enjoying, learning, and stumbling through a wonderful internship for an SEO company. They have been incredibly supportive through my learning curve. I feel nothing like the ‘unpaid slave’ all the alumni warned us we would be. Thanks to certain companies, like Just Works, there are now businesses out there who actually fight for HR hiring standards of all their employees –including interns—in small/medium sized companies. In addition to making me feel at home, my boss encourages me to use the any sources necessary to find answers. It is an exciting age with unlimited access to information. Have enough respect for yourself to find a company who respects the help that they are about to give. That goes without saying that you most definitely need to be giving your all to help the company who invested in you.

Ask your parents and grandparents about what tools they used before the Internet:

I have a theory: The generations before us must have an abundance of brilliantly talented actors. I say this because when someone my age is asked to do something, we have the reassurance that the Google is just a secret corner and a smartphone away. I feel that when poor Gen X was going through their internships, if a boss threw around some company jargon, I can almost feel the anxiety that would have flooded their chests with uncertainty if they didn’t know how to do the slightest task. Yet, I imagine their faces would probably remain cool and collected. Talented Actors. I cannot fathom. I like asking this question so that we all remember the innate human feeling of not knowing the answer. We have all felt it and it is eye opening to see how different ages and personality types handle the pressure. We all learn from each other.

Don’t be too hard on yourself:

Internships are for learning. Grow as much as you can, but keep in mind that success is earned and learned. The most helpful thing I have learned throughout my internship was that an intern is an asset. When you take on the responsibilities of others with their best interest in mind, there is really no wrong that can be done even if your work wasn’t 100 percent correct the first time around. People are willing to guide you when you are willing to help them. Be just that: Willing.

I love reading stories about life before Google/the Internet. I feel that respect of each other is the key to success today. I hope this ode to Google finds you in good times and that you finding exactly what you want for your own life– Intern(et) or not.