Now that my second summer internship with AT&T has wrapped up, I’m excited and grateful for all I learned since starting the program. Despite this year’s unique challenges, every lesson has been invaluable. These last two summers gave me great insight on workplace culture, attitude and behavior. As an intern I wanted to maximize my productivity and network efficiently, while learning as much as possible. The following takeaways are five things I prioritized to make the most out of my internship.
Arriving on time – whether that means entering the office or logging in remotely – is the first way to establish that you are both a respectful team member and a committed employee. “Showing up,” does not just mean being in attendance. It also means showing up to new opportunities and showing up with enthusiasm. Showing up was important for me in both an in-office and virtual intern experience. Whether it’s an intern group lunch at AT&T Headquarters or a virtual DINE session, participating in different opportunities helps you network efficiently while getting to know your colleagues. Both summer internships, no matter how different the experience, taught me the importance of simply showing up!
Before this summer, I only asked questions when there was confusion, rather than to expand my knowledge. I didn’t want my peers and supervisors to think I was confused or lacking knowledge of a certain topic. This summer I made a conscious effort to stay curious and learn more about the department I was in, as well as my peers’ responsibilities. This brought more depth to my overall experience as an intern and I learned the value of asking more questions.
Use your time wisely
While working both in the office and in my dining room, I noticed the importance of time management and organization. It can be easy to get overwhelmed, unorganized, and off-task if you don’t build a schedule. Scheduling my free time helped me stay on track throughout the summer. I looked at my calendar for the day and fill any hour or half-hour that is open with tasks or projects I needed to work on. Visualizing my personal bandwidth made a huge difference. By doing this, you can efficiently manage your time, organize your schedule and ensure that you are getting the most out of your internship!
As an intern, it’s not always easy to find projects or tasks to fill your time. Productive work doesn’t just fall into your lap, that’s why it’s important to stay proactive and look for new opportunities throughout the day. In other words, don’t get complacent. Reach out to contacts you’ve made through networking or ask your supervisor where you can help. Tenacity is defined as the “quality of being very determined.” Having personal determination as an employee will help you have more of an impact within the company, grow outside your comfort zone and build stronger connections among peers.
Actions and Attitudes Speak Louder than Words
We often hear “Actions speak louder than words.” I believe your attitude is even more important. Humility, honesty and general respect are all traits that affect your actions and attitude. Taking accountability for your shortcomings and being someone your boss can trust to complete a task is much more important than what your resume says about you. Let’s not forget that optimism is a large – if not the largest – part of one’s attitude. Whether you feel like you don’t have enough work, messed up on a presentation, or learn you might be working from home for up to a year and a half, staying positive can help you overcome many of the curveballs thrown your way.
I’m looking forward to applying all that I’ve learned these past two summers and will always be grateful for this opportunity.Learn More