Common Mistakes College Students Make by Danny George

Professors, advisers, and our parents have given us advice about the do’s and don’ts of internships for years, but let’s be honest – we don’t always listen and take it to heart. However, I sure wish I did listen more because I started to feel like I wasn’t standing out enough during my first internship, and didn’t know how to turn things around. Maybe, just maybe, students are more likely to listen to suggestions from one of their peers who has made mistakes over the past four years. What follows is what I have titled: The Diary of a Braided Haired Kid

 January 17th, 2011

Dear Diary,

My business dynamics professor keeps telling us to start networking now, but that seems so early! I am just a freshman and have decided I will just wait until junior year to start networking for an internship. There is no need for me to attend the Spring Career Fair.

My advice looking back: Don’t push off networking because you can never start too early! Get out there and introduce yourself to recruiters. You want them to remember your name, impressive resume, and smile when you do end up applying in a year or two. Trust me. It works.

June 5th, 2012

Dear Diary,

I love my internship so far! Every day I grab lunch with the other interns and we have become so close. Some of them have suggested we should eat with some of the employees on our team, but that would totally interfere with our gossip time, and would be sort of awkward because we don’t know them that well.

My advice looking back: While having lunch with the interns is fun and usually stress free, don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone. Most companies encourage interns to set up one-on-ones with different employees in their department and even upper management! Take advantage of meeting new people and asking them questions about their experiences. Afterwards, don’t forget to send them a thank you note and connect with them on LinkedIn.

August 2nd, 2013

Dear Diary,

I am beyond swamped. My manager was impressed with the work I did on my last project, so she gave me two new projects on top of my day to day responsibilities. The deadlines are coming up fast and I know I won’t be able to finish. Ugh to the extreme.

My advice looking back: Sometimes deadlines and project goals that are set for you are a bit unrealistic. Don’t be afraid to speak with your supervisor and express your concerns. At the end of the day, it is better to produce high quality work on one project than do a mediocre job on three projects. Take the extra time that is needed to review your work, ask questions, and run ideas by your team!



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