From Intern to Student: How to Use Your Internship Experience in the Classroom

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The end of summer internship season and the beginning of school is quickly approaching. Have you taken full advantage of everything your summer internship has to offer to prepare you for the school year and potential fall internship season? Here are three final steps to ensure you receive the best internship experience, as well as prepare for the upcoming school year.

Make sure you have fulfilled all of your capabilities to the max.

While you’re serving in your internship role this summer, make sure that you are working your hardest each and every day. Every task you are given, no matter how small, needs to be done with maximum effort. When you start your day, make sure you are developing a list of goals and at the end of the day go back to that same list to see how much you have accomplished. This is going to transfer over into the classroom through the same process. Fulfilling all of your capabilities to the max can be measured in short-term and long-term segments. At the beginning of each week make a list of all tasks you need to complete and their due dates. At the end of the week look back and see how much you have accomplished and where you stand with your progress. For a more long-term measurement, set a list of goals at the beginning of what you want to accomplish during your next internship and measure how far you’ve come at the end.

 Prepare for school.

Although summer internships are all about focusing on hands-on experience in your field of study, begin focusing on how you are going to move this same focus to a classroom setting. Preparing for school is important but especially in your college years. Decide if you are going to continue this hands-on learning from your internship in the classes and activities you are pursuing or if you are going to shift that focus mentally to studying solely through books and lectures. While you are busy with your summer internship, set aside time to make sure you have everything locked in with scheduling and classes to prepare for the transition. This will prevent any confusion in the time between the end of your summer internship and the beginning of the upcoming school year. This preparation will also give you time to have everything you need ready for school.

Make professional connections.

One of the most important items to take away with you from a summer internship to the classroom is a professional contact. Talking to everyone you meet and work with in your internship can benefit you in the classroom in more ways than you might think. When you need a recommendation letter for school or help in a particular subject or project – that one unexpected person from your internship may be the perfect person to help. Professional contacts are also great for landing positions on campus as they often serve as a reference. These professional contacts can also work as a resource for entrance into graduate school and even further internships or careers.

Laurie Eve Vazquez is a senior at Indiana University Northwest. Laurie currently interns at Taste Media Group in Chicago and she is also the Indiana University Northwest Intern Queen Campus Ambassador. Follow Laurie on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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