The first day at a new internship is undoubtedly intimidating. You are young, inexperienced, and having second thoughts about your first-day-of-work outfit.
Do yourself a favor and use those nerves to your advantage to give yourself the best learning experience possible. You are in prime condition to sculpt yourself into the PR professional you’re destined to be.
1. Don’t be a lost puppy.
No one will throw you over the side of the boat and expect you to swim on your first day. Take advantage of the first week or two to ask all the questions that cross your mind. Your employers are happy to show you the ropes.
You will be able to do any tasks they give you more easily and quickly once you fall into a comfortable routine. Learn how to solve problems on your own, but don’t allow yourself to waste time when you can simply ask someone to help guide you in the right direction.
2. Always say yes.
You might have a lot of work on your plate, but your supervisors always have more. Never turn down a job. Accept any projects people throw at you, and find a way to manage your time to get it all done-even if that means skipping lunch.
That does not mean you should overload and miss deadlines, however. Be honest with your supervisors about your workload, and they will help you prioritize. Ashley put it nicely: “You aren’t saving the world.” Everyone has overwhelming days, but you will get everything done. Take a breath and knock out one job at a time. It always feels good to cross another thing off that to-do list.
3. Make your notebook your best friend.
Take notes in meetings, make lists, and jot down project guidelines, deadlines, tips, useful websites, client information—everything. Nine times out of 10, someone will ask you to refer back to Joe Schmo’s number from two weeks ago, and you’ll be glad you don’t have to waste time hunting it down.
4. Pick up the phone.
Yes, it is intimidating to make phone calls in a room full of professionals. Swallow the stage fright and pick up the phone. It is often the quickest and most efficient way to dig up information or develop relationships.
5. Avoid boredom.
Sitting at a desk pretending to look busy is far worse than being swamped with work, even the most menial of tasks. Not only does this reflect poorly on your work ethic, but it will also cause your day to drag on much more slowly.
Log out of Facebook and ask your supervisor if there is anything you can help with. That’s why you’re there.
6. Watch and learn.
The best lessons come from hands-on experiences. Internships are a great opportunity to gain such experiences before you land a full-time job.
Observe the people around you. Notice the language they use and the clothes they wear at the office. Study the format of client documents and the manner in which your employers speak on the phone. Hone your skills as you go, and you will be surprised by how much you learn by simply paying attention to the office environment.
An internship is largely what you make of it; you get out what you put in. This goes for any situation you find yourself in, be it social, academic or professional. Take what you gain from those experiences and dazzle your future employers!
Samantha Santola is an intern at Beckerman PR. A version of this article originally appeared on Beckerman Voices.