Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Question Problem. How to ask for help during an internship?

We have all been there – still struggling with a task after multiple trials. Now, what? Well, there is only one way to find the solution and it is to ask someone who is more experienced. In the case of an intern – this is a colleague, supervisor, or manager. However, asking questions can be intimidating sometimes and here is what I learned in the past couple of weeks on that.

Yes, it is intimidating because we want to leave the best possible impression and asking a “stupid” question may not present us the way we want to be perceived. However, we have heard it multiple times: “There is no stupid question!”, and this is for a reason – all questions matter because their answers teach us. If we are asking questions we will be seen as curious and eager to develop and that is exactly what managers are looking for in a coworker.

I always see the “Question Problem” as an opportunity rather than a constraint. First, that is the way to learn how to communicate effectively problems. Second, once we have the solution and we implement it, no matter if it is an Excel question or a best-practice question, we will know the next time we encounter a similar issue. Think of it as being in class, through discussions with the professor, we are able to engage and our brain processes quickly the new material. Office hours are not scary, right? That is because we feel safe on campus but the people at our job want the best for us, too. After all, they chose to work with us.

Thus, please ask as many questions as possible, that way we will be more prepared and knowledgeable at our next internship or job, ready to develop further. And don’t forget to have fun!