I’m currently in my third internship at a T.V. news station. I’ve interned at all of the Buffalo news affiliates – channels 2, 7, and now 4. Internships can be exciting, demanding, intimidating, and rewarding all at the same time.

The hardest part of starting an internship for me was knowing when to ask for tasks. I was used to a school environment where tasks are delegated to you automatically and where questions are asked of you that you usually know the answers to already. Essentially, I was used to being told what to do. At my internships, it’s pretty much my job to be proactive. Unlike the classroom, I’ve noticed that if I don’t ask for something to do, I’ll be sitting around doing nothing all day. That gets really boring, really fast, and that’s not the point of an internship.

My best advice for a new intern is to simply ask what they should be doing or how they can help. There’s a fine line between being proactive and being annoying, and I definitely struggled with that at first. I felt like I was “bothering” people when I asked for something to do. As time went on, I started to figure out what I could do on my own to pitch in and when that was finished I just asked nicely for more tasks. Sometimes people said “No thanks, I’m good” but many times they gave me something to do. I eventually figured out who didn’t want to be asked at all and steered away from asking those people.

Your internship is truly what you make it. You don’t want to be remembered as the intern that sat around and did nothing. This experience is for you to learn about the field you’re working in, make connections, and maybe even land a job down the road. So ask those questions, help out when you can, and make lasting (positive) impressions.