FINALLY. As promised a post about my internship! I am officially a month (and a bit) into my New York internship (crazy). It has been a very busy and quite stressful few weeks. Here are my top tips for surviving your first month of an internship in NYC!
When I started I was a bit nervous about what to expect. I only had a day handover with the previous intern so it was a very busy first day. The office I work in is quite quiet, but it's situated in a huge building with lots of other offices (even supposedly Kate Spade!). The job itself has lots of different aspects to it, which was quite challenging to get to grips with. Even now I'm pretty sure I'm not carrying out all my duties but my manager seems to be happy with my progress so far so that's a positive. Even after a month I am finding so much to do/learn, and I still don't think I'm on top of it all yet but I'm getting there and that's the main thing.
So survival tips. First off ATTITUDE. This is so so important! Surviving you first month can be challenging - I won't lie. I have heard many stories from other people on my programme who have all had different experiences and who are all facing different challenges. Internships and workplaces can be hugely different, and some are luckier than others, but anyone can have a great first month if you go into it with the right attitude. It can be disheartening hearing how other people are having an amazing first month if you're drowning in work.. or not doing anything at all, and this might mar your enthusiasm. Companies all have busy/slow periods, and some, particularly if they are new to having interns, might not get the level of responsibility or workload quite right in the first month. Going in with a positive outlook means that you will get through the tedium of a low workload, or the pressure of a high one. It can help you to stay enthusiastic about your work and company even if you don't have the same perks as another intern at a different company or workplace. Pushing yourself to do your best every day will earn you some serious brownie points. Working hard, asking for more work, offering to help others - give it your all.
Secondly ASK QUESTIONS. Don't sit around afraid to ask for help. This will only mean that you end up a) looking bad to your manager or supervisor, b) putting off tasks will only leave you with nothing to do and c) won't help you make those all important connections at work. Asking questions will also demonstrate that you are interested, which if you have a probation period will be essential.
Thirdly, when you're in a new city it can be hard to balance everything. There is so much to explore, do and so many new friends to meet. Making sure you prioritise effectively will make it so much easier. My top tips are:
Get a good night's sleep. I love to sleep so I may be a bit biased but making sure you have some good quality down time will ensure you don't get the dreaded burnout.
Make lunches at home. If you live in New York City buying lunch everyday will cost you a fortune. Unless you buy $1 pizza slices (which are usually $3 by the way), then buying lunch will cost $6-12 every day which will add up. Being prepared and bringing your lunch in will save you money which can be better spent on all the fun things you do after work!
Don't just follow the crowd. That isn't to say that you shouldn't make friends, but prioritizing things that genuinely interest you will make sure you don't stretch yourself too thin. Make sure you put in the time and effort with your work colleagues as much as with people outside of work. Put yourself first - it is your year abroad and only you know how to enjoy it.
I hope that these tips help you in your first month of an internship. Let me know in the comments what your internship experiences are and how you coped with your first month!