I’m no different from any other college student when it comes to the internship hunt. I was researching internships, going on interviews and networking while learning how to network at the same time. After a couple months and a couple interviews, I was accepted to intern for a regional online radio station. I never doubted it would be hard work and a learning experience on what it is like to have a job. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t hope it would be the idealized movie experience: You make friends with the other employees/interns the first day and you save the day when someone makes a mistake making a good impression with your boss. Well it didn’t end up exactly like the movies, but I left my internship with 5 takeaways that I have no doubt will help when it comes to my next internship.

1. Take the opportunity to ask questions!

It’s not easy for anyone to ask questions. I was worried I would annoy my bosses or be fired for not knowing something. You got to let go of your worries and ask. My internship required using WordPress every day. I never used it before so I asked my supervisor if he could show me the basic functions. He happily did and would correct me, since he knew I was learning as I worked. Now, I have a skill I didn’t originally intend to learn, but is asked of a lot in my field.

2. All Internships do have “Paying Your Dues” Work

You will never escape this kind of work and yes it can be boring. It’s part of why there are internships because others don’t want to do it. I spent many hours putting events with full details on the radio station calendar. It was tiring, but it became worth it later on. Take a look at #3 to find out why.

3. You’re given a Project not originally for Interns. Give it 110%!

I was excited and nervous when I was assigned my first major role. I became the producer of the weekly “Library Chat” program. I hit the ground running making it my #1 priority because I knew this was my chance to make my mark and gain experience. Never let these chances slip by and always be grateful you got chosen to lead them!

4. Devote time after work and on the weekends for yourself.

I can’t stress this takeaway enough. I learned early on I have to make time for myself. I made a rule that for the two hours after work I would go out and do something whether it be hiking, going out with a friend or just taking a drive somewhere. Give it a try, I think it will be just as great for you.

5. Self-Reflect on the Experience

After catching up on much needed sleep, I realized some of my strengths, areas to improve and what type of company I want to work for. My experience had pros and cons, but my biggest thought was: how does this experience help me reach my goals? You always want to reach your goals so figure what will WORK FOR YOU to reach them.

mattMatt Reich is studying Media Studies: Television and Radio Production with a minor in Journalism at Mercy College. A pop culture enthusiast, news junkie and passionate about social media. Feel free to connect with him via Twitter @Matt_Reich7.