For various reasons, many of us had an internship or had to begin a new job. We have all heard the stories about having to file paperwork or going to get the boss’s coffee, but I can say my internship has been nothing like that. As my time as the Social Work intern at the Hope and Healing Center & Institute comes to an end, I am reflecting on the many experiences I have learned. Here are a few takeaways from my internship and what to remember if you are beginning an internship or starting a new career:
- It’s okay to make mistakes- Nobody expects you to know everything. It is inevitable, and you are going to make mistakes. Usually, the mistakes are not as big as you think, however, it is important you learn from your mistakes.
- There is no such thing as a stupid question – You are still learning and it is important you ask questions. Even if you feel like it is a silly question, 9 times out of 10 your supervisor won’t think so. Asking questions shows interest and thoughtfulness so ASK QUESTIONS!
- Step out of your comfort zone – You will not see growth and development if you continue to do what is comfortable or easy. Try to do something out of your comfort zone every day. It doesn’t have to be significant, something little to challenge yourself.
- Network, network, network! – There are so many well-connected people where you are. It is important to remember this is a stepping-stone for your future career goals and you want people to remember you (for good things of course). So when great opportunities become available you will be the first person that comes to mind. Also, collect business cards and make sure to stay in contact with people you have connected with.
- Be yourself! – Whether you got the position on your own or were placed there randomly, remember you have assets, unique qualifications and skills to bring, so use them!
The experience, knowledge and connections I have made during my time at the Hope and Healing Center & Institute have been invaluable and I know it will have a positive impact on my future social work career.