Reflections and learning from an internship experience
As interns, we apply ourselves to work to the best of our ability and to gain as much experience as possible as we prepare ourselves for the real world. However, what we don’t do, as soon as our internship comes to an end, is reflect on the work we’ve done and the experiences we have had. We just move right on and start the next thing that comes our way without taking the time to reflect on what we’ve learned and what information or skills we may have gained. I think it’s important to take at least a few minutes or so for yourself to think about what you did accomplish and what you should do to improve yourself for the better.
“TELL ME, AND I WILL FORGET.
SHOW ME, AND I MAY REMEMBER.
INVOLVE ME, AND I WILL UNDERSTAND
(Virginia Tech, “Career and Professional Development” https://career.vt.edu/experience/Internships/reflect.html)
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you complete your internship:
- What did you like and what did you not like about your internship experience? Was it everything you expected it to be? Were you hoping it would be more collaborative and less independent work? Or were you hoping it would be less collaborative and more independent work?
- What were the pros and cons of your role as an intern? Did the experience lead to a better understanding of the field you are planning to work in? Are you planning to continue to apply for more internship roles similar to the one you just completed or are you switching gears and looking for something else now that you’ve had this experience in this field/position?
- What are some things you will want to improve within yourself as you go on applying for further jobs/internships? Communication? Collaboration? Time management? Effective work ethic?
- What are some things the company you worked for could improve on? Provide feedback, even if it is just a note for yourself. This could help you better figure out companies and jobs going forward. More team meetings? Planning ahead of time? More project ideas? If your internship company does ask you for feedback, be honest. You might be able to create a better dynamic for the next intern to come along and possibly get a job offer for your initiative.
- Lastly, did you enjoy your experience? Sometimes, interns are so invested in working the projects and working themselves to the ground that they don’t often think about whether or not they actually enjoy the field or work they are doing.