Tips For Having a Meaningful Internship
Written by Courtney Stinson, Truth For The World Intern
When I found out that I would be joining Truth For The World in June, I was absolutely thrilled. It only took a few minutes for thrills replaced by nerves. Travelling to a new state to live with people I hardly knew, and some that I’d never met, for an entire month could be a challenge at best, a disaster at worst. Luckily my host families, the staff of TFTW, and the church in Duluth have been so warm and welcoming and have made me feel right at home right away. With all this great support, I’ve been able to do some hands-on learning and have some tips to help other summer interns make the most of their internships.
- Find what’s important to you in an internship. One of the major reasons for doing an internship is to determine your career interests, so don’t freak out if you don’t know what your dream job is just yet. But have an open mind. Interning at a big name company can be a dream come true, but working with a smaller agency or nonprofit can allow you to really get your hands into a lot of projects and can help you find your true passions. I was particularly lucky to find my internship at TFTW because I want spreading the gospel to be my top priority and being able to work on so many projects geared toward that goal has been personally satisfying and a great way to develop as a professional.
- Be open to suggestions. As an intern, you’re probably coming into the workplace without a ton of experience, which is just fine. Getting experience takes time. However, while you’re getting experience, you should rely on the judgments of your managers and coworkers to help you see what works and what doesn’t. Especially in creative industries, we tend to think all our ideas are great and will defend them to the death. Instead, try to be flexible and don't take things too personally.
- Trust your instincts. On the other hand, if you have a great idea or a suggestion for your project or your company, don’t hold back. If it’s a terrible idea or one that’s just not doable, your manager will let you know. But remember, the company hired you for a reason. Whether it was because of your skills or your grades or your amazing cover letter, someone saw that you had something to contribute to the company. Don’t let your status on the totem pole hold you back from doing amazing things in your internship.
Good luck to all my fellow summer interns! I hope you’ll be blessed with great experiences and learn a lot through your work. If you ever think you’d like to make evangelism your career, consider an internship at TFTW!