Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Netflix or Socialize? -Lunch Break Edition

During the first day of my internship, I was ecstatic to see a friend from high school walk through the doors of the big conference room where my orientation was being held. The first thought that popped into my mind was “I don’t have to eat lunch alone!” Since this was my first actual experience in an office and not in a start-up setting, I was not sure what the lunch situation was like and was honestly a little afraid that I would be eating in my cubicle for the entirety of the eight weeks. I was very grateful that I had a friend from the very beginning.

But, very soon I realized that it does not matter if I have a friend. Even if I was completely alone, I should not have the mentality of “I’ll just sit in my cubicle and eat my lunch and watch Netflix.” Instead, I should be planning to actively reach out to my fellow interns and co-workers in my department to get to know them better. Even though it was out of my comfort zone, doing so would expand my professional network, which is one of my goals for the summer. 

Thankfully, I have an amazing team of interns and co-workers that made achieving this goal a lot easier. Every day besides Friday, a group of 6-7 interns, including me, would meet up in the lunchroom. During this one hour lunch break, we would share what we did during the weekends or what project we are currently working on. By having lunch with the other interns, I now have a better understanding of what the other departments in my company does as well as form friendships with people that have similar aspirations as I do. On Fridays, I go out to lunch with the members of my department and spend time with them in a non-professional setting. This helped improve the work culture and helped further integrate me into the company. 

Overall, even though you might just want to sit by your desk and watch Netflix during your break, which is also totally fine, you should also try to optimize your lunch break and use it as a way to become a better intern.