Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Internship Ending? 5 Things to Do Now!

Hey there, fellow Edsters!

Time is flying far too fast. Weeks just shoot by, and the finish line for my internship is coming into sight. I’ve got a little bit of time left, but I still can’t believe how much closer the end gets every day — my friends and I talk about it in shock. I’ve fallen in love with my internship and this city, and I’ve learned so much. I know I’ll be back next summer (fingers crossed!), but every time I leave the office, I can’t help but look back and dread the day that single-digit countdown will begin.

It’s not unusual though. It’s the way it’s been with all my internships. I don’t regret a day of the journey at them, but the end always makes me sentimental. There’s still some time left to learn more, but the biggest mountains have been climbed. Now it’s time to head back down and end with grace.

What I’ve learned about this period — the falling action, you’d call it in literature — is that it’s important to be as conscious making that great good-bye as you were with that impressive hello. And great good-byes don’t happen in a week.

I always try to make sure my ends are tied as nicely as possible, and that process starts as early as three weeks before my internship ends. Getting ready to go too? Here are the five things I make sure I’ve done before I get to the last day:

1) Talk to everyone you have an interest in. Is there an editor at your internship whose work you adore, but you’ve never gotten the chance to meet? Shoot them an email and ask them if you can buy them coffee sometime during the day. This is your chance to network with anyone at that publication — they share an office with you. Take advantage of it.

2) Wrap up long-term projects. Have long-term assignments sitting? Take the time out now to put the extra effort in them. Show your editor you did more than just the minimum with them. Strive to go above and beyond so when you turn them on your last day, your editor is blown away.

3) Ask about future opportunities at the publication after your internship. While of course it’s important to stay in touch with your editor, don’t think the moment you leave your internship, your career there does too. Ask about freelance opportunities or chances to help out in the fall. You never know what gig you might run into — at my last internship, I was able to do paid freelance writing (not too shabby after an unpaid internship!) where my articles appeared in print.

4) Get to know your other interns and the editors you work with if you haven’t already. This may be the last time you run into your fellow interns for a while. Make a point to have dinner with them and get to know each other one-on-one (you never know where they’ll end up in the industry, and there’s no such thing as too many friends!) Try to schedule a lunch with your editor before your last week too or just a chance to talk. It’ll help him or her get to know you before you’re handing him or her that good-bye card.

5) Stay focused. It’s easy to let complacency dull your work during the last week or two at an internship. Know, however, it’s imperative you continue to put in the same effort you did that first week. Your Eds do notice.

So what do you think, Edsters? What’s on your internship bucket list? And what’s the most important thing any intern should do before they leave?

Until next time,
Women’ s Mag Intern

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