Internships are a great way to add value to your degree and resume. It’s good in the sense that students will have a glimpse into the working world and make some reliable connections before they officially start their careers. But there are always some differences between an intern and a full-time employee. Here are some things that only an intern will relate to;
1. Welcome to the world of ‘adulting’
Especially on the first day of your internship, you’ll go, Oh gosh… is this the world I’ll soon be stepping in? Everybody walking so fast like the company will run away if they missed a second.
2. The office tour
The HR manager will bring you around the office, introducing you to colleagues from different departments. You, on the other hand, would have to repeat, ‘Hi, nice to meet you,’ for the umpteenth time and put on the most angelic smile you can afford. When you’re done you’ll probably feel your cheeks need a break.
3. The pay is never enough
“My allowance is only RM800! Want me to eat bread for every meal meh?”
“Excuse me, please be glad. Mine is only RM500.”
“What are you guys talking about? I’m unpaid!”
These are common lines shared among interns. Yet, if we ask our older siblings or seniors, they would say that what we’re getting is way more than what they ever got and that we should be grateful. Plus, every industry differs. So, maybe the experience is what counts. Right?
4. Lack of a sense of belonging to the company
Your supervisor will always tell you to communicate with the rest of the team, saying that they are friendly, easy to approach and whatnot. But there’s no doubt that you’ll still feel uneasy and that you do not belong there. For most of us, the gap between a permanent employee and an intern is well alive.
“Intern! Come here for a while and help me sort out those files.”
“Can you do the report for the presentation?”
“We need you to switch departments tomorrow.”
An intern is basically just a nicer name for a ‘you’d-be-doing-anything-and-everything worker’. You thought you’d do the tasks under your job scope. But in reality, you’re actually doing the things that nobody else wants to do. But hey, you never know what you really like or dislike until you’ve tried it right?
6. To speak up during meetings? Or not?
When you are invited to a meeting and the chairman actually asks for the teams’ opinions, you go blank. Should I say my point out? Would it sound dumb? Aiya, better keep quiet. I don’t want to embarrass myself.
7. What you learnt in your course is not helping at all
So you’ve got an internship at a company that compliments your academic background, you’re highly motivated to nail it. But when you go for your internship and actually start doing the tasks you’re asked to, you’ll realize that what the course taught you is barely 1% of the reality in the workplace situation. It makes you question your entire education.
So much for a Dean’s list. But in real situations…
8. You’re not the only intern, woohoo!
It’s bad enough to not have any coursemates or friends going for the same placement with you. The moment you see another intern in your department, the loneliness in you just disappears away. This person(s) is also probably going to be your lunch buddy for the rest of your placement. Eh, you intern also ah? Yeah!!!
9. Hopes for a permanent employment
Regardless of your performance in the company, there’s no doubt that you’d be hoping for permanent employment because you don’t want to be jobless upon graduation. Of course, you can seek for another job. But to get used to a new company all over again, it’s a tiring process. So until you hear the magic words “We want you to join this company when you graduate”, you’ll probably do whatever it takes.
10. Am I that dumb?
As an intern, you are probably not producing results that can turn the company around. But when you notice how your other colleagues seem to go smoothly with their work, you will tend to feel like an absolute loser. But it’s good to remind ourselves, we’re learning and they make mistakes too!
11. Too many names to remember
Aside from the colleagues in your own department, you will hardly remember the names of others. And when your supervisor asks you to look for a certain person, you’ll probably have a mini panic attack before asking for the nicest person in the office to help point out to the said person. Sorry peeps. Too many people, too little time.
But in all honesty, most of us have lots of fun at our internships and end up learning more than we thought we would. Some of us also end up leaving with long-lasting friendships, connections and memories. At the end of the day, it’s good to remember that we’re there for the experience and that’s the most important thing.
So calling for all interns! Can you relate to these? What other intern-only problems can you think of?
Note: This is written by an intern, for interns and to future interns.
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