#UDPRIntern: Learning over the long-haul: How to grasp new opportunities at a long-term internship

journey1

Let’s face it—as ambitious communication students, we plow through internships with a “what’s next” mentality. We want something bigger, better and more boast worthy to add to our resumes once we conclude our current internship. I get it. But what if we decide to stay right where we are? Does this derail our practically perfect resume?

I have spent the last year working as the Communication & Development Intern at The Journey, a rapidly growing nondenominational church in Newark, Del. I originally signed on for a five-week winter internship…but life had something else in store for me. I ended up staying, all because I loved what I was doing and who I was doing it with.

Over the past year, I found that professional development only flourishes when you plant roots in some great soil. Here’s how you can stay fresh and fruitful at a long-term internship:

1. Overachieve on and off the job

Go above and beyond to learn about your industry. Listen to pod-casts on your way to work, follow key influencers on social media, skim through articles and blog posts from industry innovators and read books about leadership. Uncover potential opportunities, and then go after them!

2. Connect with your coworkers

Stop hiding in your cubicle. Seriously. Do not allow those three walls to imprison you and your success. Start talking to others in the office and ask them about how their days are going. Ask them about their jobs. Ask them how you can help. Just start asking—new and exciting projects (and connections) could start coming your way. Hello, networking.

3. Ask for feedback

Build a relationship with your manager and start regularly asking for honest feedback. It might not feel great or it might even sting at times, but this is essential to sharpening your skills and growing as a person and professional. You can’t improve if you don’t know where to start.

Best of luck with your internship endeavors, and remember: it’s not about checking a box; it’s about soaking in the experience.

By: Laura Hepp

journey2Laura Hepp is a junior mass communication major with minors in advertising and theatre performance studies. Aside from interning at The Journey and performing in various musical theatre productions, Laura loves running, laughing, and eating far too many vegetables. She serves as Vice President of Professional Development for PRSSA-UD.

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