Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Some Small Lessons for Day One

As many students will soon start with their summer internships, I thought it would be best to share three lessons I got from my own internship that started early this summer. There is no doubt that everyone’s situation and relationship with their employer will be different, but I hope that something within this post you will find relevant for yourself.

This ain’t Facebook kid…

You could probably insert some cliché about first impressions here, but I’ll simply leave it with they matter. With that it is therefore important to dress as if you were headed to a first round interview, as a great number of people will be immediately determining how they feel about the new guy or gal. Unless clearly specified by your employer, there is no harm in showing up in professional formal attire for day one. After this first day you will get a chance to see how everyone else is dressed and can adjust accordingly.

I’ve got a conference call, just relax and I’ll be back

Besides maybe getting some mild entertainment of your new boss’ Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, there isn’t much fun in the large amount of down time on day one. For the most part it is going to be filled with very boring tasks like setting up your computer account, your phone line, etc. (I had the thrilling experience of calling tech support four times!). In preparation of this I actually brought a copy of The Economist inside of my bag, but I say this with extreme caution as this option should only be used when it is clear there is absolutely nothing you could be doing right now and staring at a wall for an hour is your only other choice.

Day three and their color is already gone…

It is pretty widely expected for you to be enthusiastic on your first day of work and excited to meet the new people in the office, but don’t let this die away so quickly. Some people make the mistake of not going out and meeting anyone else in the office once that first day has passed. Those first few days are your excuse to cruise around and learn names, without seeming like that crazy intern who’s been here for over a month and just now is learning who the people in the cubicle across from them are. Make an effort to keep your first day energy going well through your first week.