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The Adventure Science Center Blog

ASC Science Educators and guest authors exploring our world and the science and technology that connects us

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR INTERNSHIP MATTER by Wil Morse, ASC Intern

Last summer, I was lucky enough to land an internship at Adventure Science Center in, what has proven to be, my best “job” ever. The staff was kind, the jobs were challenging, and the results were greater than I anticipated. I learned a ton about informal education, project development, marketing, and more, some of which I didn’t expect to learn. It was really grand.

So, though every internship is different, here are some of my tips on how to get the most out of your internship!

Be ambitious

When I interviewed for this position, Morgan asked me if I had any other interests or departments I would like to learn from… which caught me totally off-guard. I’ve never interned with an organization large enough to merit that question.

I was initially brought on to help conduct outreach, workshops, and classes. Although that has been my primary responsibility, many of my most rewarding endeavors have been the result of my branching out into different departments, taking on tasks I didn’t expect to do. (Like this blog, for one!)

Over the course of the summer, I really learned the difference between a job and an internship. In a job, you are hired to do a specific task using the expertise you’ve gained from your education and experiences. In an internship, you can experiment with different projects to gain new knowledge. Internships allow you to explore new areas and find what you really like (and don't like) to do!

Be innovative

You have something to add that no one else can… an outside perspective. Think about ways you could help improve the organization as a whole. When I had the idea to create an automated presentation for one of the exhibits, they let me run with it! Being a part of designing something new is the best way to build tangible results that will follow you long after your internship is done.

Oh, and seeing something you designed yield results is exciting!

Don’t gripe about mundane tasks

Sometimes being an intern means spending time on really boring jobs, like folding hundreds of camp pamphlets one-by-one. It’s not always fun. But in reality, there’s a facet of any job that requires mundane work. Just consider it training to help you reach more exciting tasks in the future!

Someone’s gotta do it—sometimes that person is you!

Say yes as much as possible

I’m not advocating overloading yourself or pretending to have expertise that you don’t, but whenever you’re given an opportunity, take it! Over my time at the ASC, I’ve been offered many tasks I’d never done before.

“Hey Wil, would you like to help design a Student Orientation Video?”

“Hey Wil, would you like to write presentation scripts for our Planetary Orb Presentations?”

“Hey Wil, would you like to design a demo exhibit for our Summer Science event?”

Typically, my answer was “uh, sure! I’ve never done anything like that before, but I’ll give it a shot!”

That’s the beauty of an internship: you’re not expected to be an expert. The staff wants to help you learn and gain experience. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask questions! Brainstorm! No one is going to be upset if you mess up, but you won’t gain anything if you say no.

Above all, enjoy yourself

Yeah, I know. I’m ending this with “and of course, have fun!” (cliche but true)

But, I’ve seen way too many people treat their internships like mud they have to trudge through to get a job. An internship is a unique opportunity to experiment and learn in a professional environment; you aren’t bound the way you are in a job. Your future boss may not want you to spend time working on tasks outside of your job description when you’re an employee. Enjoy this—it’s worth it.

- Wil Morse, ASC Intern

Posted by Molly Hornbuckle at 10:00 AM

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