How Can “A Summer Internship” Turn Into the “The Best Summer of Your Life”? was originally published on Firsthand.
Are internships meant to be purely transactional, professional activities, or are they supposed to leave an indelible mark on shaping a future professional? This article tries to map the journey of a simple summer internship becoming the best summer of an intern’s life!
Internships are a seemingly mandatory exercise for most students around the world. Something being “mandatory” doesn’t usually lend itself to being “fun” though, does it? InStep interns have a very different story to tell!
Every year, Infosys accepts over 250 interns for its flagship global internship program, InStep. These students are handpicked from close to 180 universities around the globe, and despite their diversity of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, thoughts, and beliefs, many of them share a common sentiment at the end of this internship: “This has been the best summer of my life!”
After asking multiple students what makes the Infosys Instep program so special for them, we realized that creating a memorable internship doesn’t just come down to the employer—the interns themselves play an equally important role. While an employer is certainly responsible for providing the platform and enabling the experience, immersing in the culture and taking full advantage of the available resources is still the interns’ responsibility. And when an employer and their intern meet each other halfway, an internship experience becomes successful and memorable!
These are the top five tips shared by our past interns for students to have a memorable internship experience.
Follow your heart
In their junior or senior years, many students have a fair idea about what sort of roles they’d like to explore. It is imperative for them to have an open conversation with their employers about their aspirations, preferably before or even during the internship. Some employers have the option of letting interns choose which projects they want to work on, however many companies don’t have that option. Hence, it is important for interns to have an honest discussion with their employers about their professional goals.
Dive in with an open mind
It is important for interns to go into an internship experience with a completely open and fresh mind, without any expectations. One must be ready to play any hand they are dealt, take in all that is offered, and try to make the best of any situation. Internships are often simulations of a real-world professional scenario, and just like in the real world, nothing is predictable in an internship. Navigating these unpredictable waters will better prepare students for their future careers.
Get work done, proactively
Doubtlessly, the best way to get the most out of an internship is by working. The more an intern works, the more they learn, and even more avenues open for them to contribute and grow. It is also one of the surest ways of getting noticed by hiring managers, leaders, and senior stakeholders of a company.
Reach out, build networks, stay connected
An internship has the potential to open up a whole new world for students. The second-best way to use your time at an internship, after working hard, is by creating a valuable network of peers and other professionals. One of the easiest ways to network is to ask questions—ask fellow interns about their projects, ask senior leaders about their career journeys, ask hiring managers about their recruitment strategies, and ask other employees about their functions. If the company has an intranet, this could be a great way to connect; social media platforms like LinkedIn can also connect you with your network.
Soak in every bit of the experience, and then some more
Internships only last a few weeks, which makes the experiences interns gather even more valuable. It is rather foolish to pass any opportunity to imbibe the company culture, explore new locations, meet new people, have a great time! An intern can also add to the experience by bringing in new ideas, sharing feedback, and taking initiative. All of these get added to their basket of experience; no good or bad experience ever goes to waste. Every lesson in life comes in handy, at least once.
We hope these pro tips come in handy for all internship aspirants. If you feel like you could add any more suggestions, we are always on the lookout for great thoughts and new ideas!