The 7 Most Important Lessons To Learn From Your Summer Internships


Unless you’re my genius friend Brian who had company’s running after him without lifting an internship search finger…then you my friend need some internship experience. Out of my four summers interning, here is a condensed summary of things I wish to pass on to the next batch of overly eager beavers…

1. Paris is always a good idea.

Whatever you can possibly do in the US you can always do abroad…and no, Canada does not count. I’m talking full on getting lost on the subway on your way to work, sipping French champagne in France with your coworkers, and finding wifi at McDonalds type of abroad experience. You won’t regret it. My first ever internship was in Paris and although it helped that I spoke French (or at least what I thought was French, but what Frenchies called “Canadian”), I learned a great deal about myself and my interests.

2. Never say no.

As an intern, you are at the bottom of the food chain. Did you finally land that coveted spot at a Big 4 out of thousands of applicants? Great, now show you actually appreciate it and bind these reports. You are an intern so you must, in turn, pay your dues and learn every little thing you can possibly absorb, including where the extra Keurig cups are stored.

3. Write down ALL the things!

(In one place.) I tried the multiple notebooks thing but trust me, to this day I still bring in the same giant spiral notebook to team meetings. This will save you time when searching for anything. Don’t ever throw those notebooks away; one day your boss will ask you about something from months ago and you’re going to want to show them that you were smart enough to keep note of who we sent that performance report to.

4. Everything is useful…in the future.

It wasn’t until I was starting to settle into my second full-time position until I realized this. Somehow, every insignificant detail of my past internships were useful in some form or manner. Being able to fix the scanner is essential anywhere — trust me.

5. Get up, dress up, and show up.

No matter how hungover you are, treat this like a real job. If you are looking to work on Wall Street, this is incredibly important. If all you do is show up early, leave late, and look decent, then you’ve already scored the 200 SAT points you get for writing your name.

6. Be memorable.

Four internships later, and I still keep in touch with at least one person from each firm. If you’re memorable enough (and not by the length of your skirt), you’ll find that doors will swing open for you — and ones you did not even have to knock on.

7. Don’t hook up with your coworkers

No matter how hot they are, how young they are, or how bad they tell you they want it. Future you will thank you. Even if you swore the other person to secrecy, 100 times out of 100, as soon as you walk out that door and fly home to start your Senior Year of College, the beans will be spilled and high fives will be made.