By: Lauren StaffWalking into your first internship after only using the skills you have learned in a classroom setting can be very intimidating. Figuring out how to balance school, work, your internship, and your social life becomes overwhelming. Although sometimes stressful, an internship is a learning experience that provides you with knowledge that will be used far after graduation.

Here are some tips I have learned throughout my experiences to ensure you get the most out of any internship:

Be ConfidentThis was something I struggled with at my first internship. Voicing your opinion and sharing your ideas can be scary especially when you aren’t 100% sure if what you are about to say even makes sense. However, getting over that mental block and trusting your ideas will show your supervisor that you are invested in your internship. And even if something you say isn’t correct or doesn’t make sense, remember, internships are a learning experience!

Ask Questions: Your supervisor is there to help you learn what is going to happen when you enter the professional world, so take advantage of it! If you are unsure of something, ask for clarification. If you just want to know more about their day-to-day professional life, ask! Now is the time to absorb all of the knowledge that you can.

Set Personal Goals: While you and your supervisor will likely set goals during your internship, you should also consider setting personal goals as well. Whether it is improving your writing skills, learning about SEO, expanding your professional network, or simply gaining any knowledge about PR, it is always fulfilling to see how far you have come as a young professional.

Be Positive: The intern life isn’t always glamorous, there may be days full of research, printing numerous documents for coworkers, and having to make the coffee. Be enthusiastic about the tasks given to you. Show you are responsible and that you can accomplish anything thrown at you with a positive attitude.

Learn from Mistakes: You are not expected to know everything the second you walk into an internship. Remember that this is a learning experience and your coworkers are there to help you. The people you are working with were most likely in your shoes at one point, so do not be scared to mess up. Learn how to receive constructive criticism and learn from your mistakes.

Lauren Staff is a senior at GVSU studying Advertising and Public Relations. She previously held a social media and marketing internship with at Third Coast Development in Grand Rapids. She looks forward to expanding her PR knowledge through her current position as an account associate at GrandPR. In Lauren’s free time you can find her hanging out with friends, exploring Grand Haven, reading a book, or watching reruns of Gilmore Girls.