If I had to capture my experience and observations interning at the United Nations Foundation thus far, here are the 10 words I would choose to use (fair warning: they are not all that creative – but nonetheless, very accurate).
- Diet-Coke (EVERYONE…EVERYWHERE…EVERYDAY)
- Internet-Sleuthing (The title of an intern should have an asterisk underneath that says, “our own personal internet stalker!”
- Calendar-or-die (< Yes, all one word)
Walking into the beautiful UNF DC-office building surrounded by business suits and clacking kitten heels, I step into the elevator; although, I actually have started taking the stairs…look at me, such a seasoned vet…
Sitting down at my spacious desk (surprisingly uniform to that of every team member), I check my unread emails and then create a daily to-do list. Quite honestly, I feel extremely lucky; my intern situation is quite ideal. I’m on a team (mainly female with the exception of one super rad dude) that is pretty badass (if I do say so myself). They are action-oriented and get things done, while knowing how to joke and have fun. My overseers are quite conscious of my experience as an intern. While I do complete my fair share of more ‘stereotypical’ internship activities (mailing, catering, note-taking), they are constantly asking what types of projects I’d like to take on, inviting me to interesting conferences and networking events, as well as include me on campaign wide grassroots and branding initiative discussions.
I’m not even going to pretend I have ‘interning’ down. Not even close. Every day is a new learning opportunity for me (both in terms of sculpting my interpersonal skills, writing, briefing, learning about the UN, the world, powerful people who control the world, and on and on), however, here are three important pieces I have gathered so far in order to be a successful intern:
- Consistency. Even something as small as forgetting a period or having words incorrectly capitalized, can leave an impression on your overseer(s). This can influence the types of projects you receive and thus the extent to which you ultimately maximize your internship.
- Thoroughness. If you are asked to create and submit some sort of report – be that a briefing, email template, social media post, article -, crafting it and glancing over it once, is not enough. Make sure that your work is complete – even above and beyond what they asked, if appropriate – and consistent.
- Anticipation. Ah, yes. The most useful tool… although be warned, there is always a risk of self-implosion if you anticipate incorrectly! Employers are extremely impressed when you have taken on a project/need before they have to ask for it. Lucky for us, expectations for interns are usually set pretty low (especially for unpaid interns), thus when this assumption is proven wrong, it can work strongly in your favor.
As always, any comments/ideas/thoughts are greatly appreciated!