The purpose of the internship program is to prepare undergraduates for what they are going to face in the real working world. It is like a teaser. Regardless of the company’s size, it is up to individuals to shape their internship journey either learning new things, relaxing or even worse just do filing and photocopying without knowing the value of those documents.
Proactive supervisors coach and guide according to the academic requirements, industrial needs and intern’s interest. They will also integrate them into their team setup. As interns take this opportunity to learn as much as possible if you experience this healthy learning environment
Reactive supervisors will ignore the interns without a proper guide. They may either don’t know where to start or are too busy or just plain ignorant. In this situation, the interns themselves need to step up. Here are 5 ways to avoid your internship become meaningless:
- Have a meeting with your supervisor to set the expectation. Layout clear target of what you want to achieve throughout the internships period.
- Ask your supervisor or other team members for more involvement in the current project. Seek permission to attend related discussions and meetings. You will get a better picture of what is happening in the section or department. This may help in determining what kind of project you will be doing as part of the academic requirement during the internship period.
- Ask to be coached on specific topics based on your course work requirement. Focus on the discipline core competency required by the industry.
- Offer yourself to take up some workload from your supervisor and/or other team members. Is like doing butter trade; offering value in terms of helping hands in exchange for gaining new knowledge. You will get hands-on experience and at the same time support the department task.
If those steps do not work, here are the actions you can take:
- Reach out to the company’s HR. Request to be transferred to another supervisor and if necessary change the department as well. Worst case scenario, inform your lecturer or college internship coordinator to get help. Seek support in terms of getting you another place for an internship.
During the internship, don’t expect your supervisors will spoon-feed you with the knowledge and experience that your teacher or lecturer is doing in school or college. You need to make it work. Ultimately you are the one in control of what kind of internship experience you will get.