For Your Internship
By Ashley Collins, AgCareers.com
Managing your expectations is key to your happiness. That statement can apply to a million different scenarios including your job, relationships, training for a physical challenge, the list could go on and on. For the sake of this article, I am not a career coach, relationship therapist, or personal trainer, so this isn’t about managing your expectations on any of those topics. My experience, however, is in Internship Programs. I’ve been an intern, managed interns, coached companies on how to build and maintain an internship program, and over the past ten years, I’ve surveyed over 5,500 interns about their internship experience. In reviewing data and comments over those ten years, it is apparent that if a student has unrealistic expectations going into the internship, it often leads to a negative experience for both the student and often the employer.
Before we go any further, it is important to note that employers must also manage their expectations of, and from, their interns as well. An internship program is about providing practical and meaningful work experience that gives students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and build upon it in a company atmosphere. Not twelve weeks of making copies, taking lunch orders and standing in the corner. Employers can learn more about what interns are looking for and how to design your program and projects to meet those desires in earlier articles we’ve published.
Back to the intern… First and foremost, you must expect your employer to provide you with training, both formal and informal training. There will be tasks, tools and situations you’ll encounter on the job that lecture halls and two-hour labs could not have trained you to utilize correctly or how to react appropriately.
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