July is ending, and so is your summer internship! If you’re like me, you spent a lot of time thinking about how to make a great first impression in your summer job, but I think “last impressions” are even more important. My goal is always to make sure that my colleagues will miss my presence in the office when my internship ends. This is important as you continue to build your career network.
Focus on Your Goals
I use my summer internship to explore careers in my field. I’m a chemistry major, so I participated in internships in academia, medicine, and environmental science. This has helped me rule out certain paths (forensic chemistry, for example) and discover interests in unexpected places, like biogeochemistry.
Use the last few weeks of your internships to ask questions and think critically about the field you are working in. Is this something you want to keep doing? If you are still unsure, use the last few weeks of your internship to do some digging. Talk to your boss, your co-workers, and fellow students. Ask them what they like about the field (and maybe even what they dislike). This will help you get the most out of your experience.
Full Speed Ahead
You should do your best throughout your college internships, but it’s easy to get a little side-tracked halfway through. I lose focus when I start seeing my friend’s vacation photos, while I’m stuck in the office.
You are probably already doing excellent work for your employer, but now is the time to step up your game. Spend the last few weeks going above and beyond expectations in your internship. You can do this in simple ways. For example, I just started organizing the office supplies for our lab. It only requires 20 extra minutes at the office, but it will make life in the lab easier for everyone.
Tie Up Loose Ends
Many internships require a written report at the conclusion. If yours doesn’t, consider preparing one anyway. I always write a summary of my experience at the conclusion of the job. I keep a copy for myself, but also pass on a copy to my employer. This helps him/her remember what you did (and, let’s be honest, who you are). It also helps you later on when you update your résumé or prepare for interviews. I’ve found that the process of writing the report helps me identify loose ends in my projects. I can then use the last few weeks of my internship to tie them up.
Preparing for the end of your college internships is just as important as preparing for the beginning. Take advantage of the last few weeks to build networks and show how awesome you really are. Who knows? They just might invite you back.
Photo Source: J1986boston24 at Wikimedia Commons