The road was long, filled with twists and turns around mountains and forests until the land grew flat. Over 1,600 miles were traveled. In an old car, my dog and I prayed we would make the long journey in one piece. What journey could take a new college graduate and her sidekick pup to a place so far away? An internship. Yup, that’s right.
Internships are the golden key that will let us enter the land of our first “real” job. You gain knowledge of exactly what you want to do and a very real understanding of what you don’t.
Some internships are in your hometown, but mine was no where near my little hobbit hole of a home. Leaving Pennsylvania for Austin, Texas was one the scariest things that I have ever done. But with every great adventure there are great lessons.
Bilbo meets the Dwarves – Fitting into the team
One of the hardest parts of starting an internship is fitting into the team. They already have their banter, inside jokes, and even activities that they do together. How are you supposed to fit into a group of people who all already have their own role?
Be a yes person. From joining in on a meeting or to sticking around and grabbing a happy hour drink with your team, say yes. It is going to be hard, intimidating, and even uncomfortable, but do it. Try. Eventually you end up with some random nickname and it will make you feel like a little less of a newb.
The dwarves are captured by goblins - Figure out how to overcome problems
The team isn’t going to hold your hand. Goblins are going to come in every shape and form. They could show themselves as a difficult client, a frustrating project, or an annoying task. You can’t let them keep hold of you.
You’ve got to learn how to problem solve. Every person in every company has goblins of their own. Being creative and innovative are essential to defeating every day battles.
Bilbo finds the Ring – Find what you love
Find what you love and do it. Do it as much as you can, as often as you can, even when you don’t want to. Get better. Fight for it. If you’re in a position that you like than work harder, show you give a damn and ask to do more of it. Remember, good is the enemy of great.
This is your time to figure out what you want to do, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask to try things out. In order to do what you love, you have to find what you love, and to find what you love you have to look for it.
Bilbo rescues the Dwarves – Put in the work
Like it or not, you are going to have to do some work for others. If someone needs you to mail something, do it. If another person needs you to proof something, do it. Just because at that moment your goblins are under control doesn’t mean theirs are too.
Defeating Smaug – Your first HUGE oops.
No matter what you do, or how hard you try you will encounter a Smaug. Some catastrophe will happen simply because you are still learning. But that is no crutch or excuse. Just be ready and ok with that fact that you are going to f*$# up. Figure out how to stay calm and deal with it.
Be aware that you don’t know everything. Don’t try to know everything. When you do finally come face to face with your Smaug, own up to it. Fix it.
The Battle of the Five Armies – Departments work together
Dwarves, elves, and humans, (creative, tech, coordinators, management, ect.) all need to work together to make a project happen. Understanding that you will be working with every department in the company is something that you should realize, and realize it soon.
You may be in one place while a team mate is in another. It doesn’t matter if you know them or not, you have to work well with everyone. Know that each person in the company, including you as an intern, is necessary. Respect all.
Bilbo reaches the Shire – The offer
Eventually you will reach the end of the internship. You will have proven your strength in battle. For those who are given an offer things are about to change. A job is in the future. That’s right, a steady job that will have benefits and a salary to help pay back all of those college loans. A job that will help to pay for a hobbit hole paradise of your own (or at least an apartment).
Now you are thinking of crazy words like health insurance, cost of living, and interest. You see numbers and dollar signs. You must decide if you will continue your journey in this new land, or if you return home.
Gandalf visits Bilbo – Stay or Go
In the end, the decision you make is no ones but your own. If you stay you will be away from your family and friends. If you go you will leave a life you made on your own and a job you may love, not to mention the new people you have befriended. Whether it is easy or hard to make, a decision will be made nonetheless.
And when it comes down to it whatever choice you make, you will do great things because you took the chance and had yourself an adventure of your own.