Internships should be a learning process. Whether you are doing hands-on activities, helping out at events or sitting in a chair observing, you are still learning. I mean, you probably won’t learn as much by “just sitting.” You need to get out there and be noticed. If you don’t know where your supervisor is, don’t know what to do, find something. I like to explore if I’m bored. Start walking around the building; you won’t be kicked out! If you think it’s uncomfortable to barge in on people working, just pop your head in and say “Hi.” Seriously, 98% of the time, the person will say, “Hey! What’s up?” or some other friendly greeting. If you are shy and don’t want to annoy people, then don’t be in an internship. It’s best to ask questions when you can, speak your opinion if you get the opportunity, and generate ideas. I lied about not being in an internship if you’re shy…it should open you up and make you stand out more. It’s important to realize that this is going to be a work environment you may not be used to. That’s always okay, but approach the internship as you would any new job you are just starting. Don’t be late, don’t miss a day (unless you have to), and communicate! We are all communication studies, digital media arts, and journalism majors. Seriously, speaking shouldn’t be a huge concern. If there are moments of awkward silence between you and whomever, talk about the weather. It sounds funny, but you would be surprised at how effective “small-talk” is, and a lot of the time, it leads into others areas of conversation. You can get to know other people, connect in some way, or find things you share in common. As we learned in interpersonal communication, affiliation is key. You can develop a good working relationship with someone if you know someone they know, went to the same school, etc. I know this is more than one piece of advice but, I want to stress that being quiet and “hidden” from others is not the way to connect with others in your field!
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