By: Arielle Berman, Miles Lichtman & Cathy Li

Hey, genKP! We’re Ari, Miles, and Cathy, a few of this summer’s KP interns, and we are here to share a little bit about what our experience has been like over these past few months. Thinking about the internship experience as a whole, we broke it down into four stages to illustrate what it is like to be a KP intern and to share some things we learned along the way.

 

Stage 1 – The First Step

The first few weeks of the internship – you meet all the fun and ambitious interns at your orientation, you make a few friends and exchange numbers, you meet your awesome supervisor and the rest of your department, and you get your first, real, adult desk. You also have your own KP phone number and a fun new badge you can show off on your morning BART commute. You begin to accept that KP Learn and My HR won’t load and IT keeps telling you to wait a few days, but it is more of an exciting and anxious frustration than an irritating one. Your projects sound exciting, the University Relations intern events sound amazing, and you are ready to get started.

Despite all the excitement, this phase could be a little scary, but it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and explore all that KP has to offer. Go out with other interns for happy hour, reach out to your manager, and, above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially during this early stage of your internship. Take the first step to familiarize yourself with KP’s culture. Oh and don’t forget to sign up for genKP!

 

Stage 2 – The Balancing Act

The initial excitement is slowly beginning to wear off as you get into the swing of a 9-5 job. The work pace quickens, your projects are in motion, and you find yourself under the pressure of completing your deliverables on time. But since things are still new, you’re still eager to make time to meet new people and foster those new found relationships with your fellow interns and supervisor. Suddenly juggling work, socializing, and extracurricular become difficult. That’s when you finally understand what your supervisor meant when they told you to make sure to stay patient.

But don’t sweat it! And definitely don’t feel overwhelmed. Find your balance by understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie and communicate that with your manager. They understand you’re still learning, and with the years of experience under their belts, they can help you hone your skills to better navigate the workplace.

 

Stage 3 – Finding the Right Fit

This is where your quarter-internship crisis comes in. The frustration and big life questions begin to sprout up and take over your mind. We want to remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

For us, this is the stage where work began to feel slow. The free KP swag no longer felt quite so swaggy, and the days felt longer as balancing work and social life was not as challenging as it once was a few weeks ago. Inevitably, we began to question ourselves: What were we going to be doing for the remainder of our internship? Did the work we were doing even matter in the grand scheme of things? Did we want to continue to pursue this as a career? Was KP the right fit for us?

If you find yourself feeling as frustrated as we did, take a step back and try to see the bigger picture of how your work ties into KP’s mission. And if that doesn’t help, then that’s your cue to get creative– stretch yourself by taking on responsibilities outside of your scope of work to pick up a few new skills, schedule informational interviews to see if other departments better suit you, or find a genKPer or a mentor to help guide you to finding the right fit for you.

 

Stage 4 – The Marathon

Winding down to the last couple weeks of your internship, you’re finally ready to present your projects to your director. It is nerve wracking, but you deliver your findings with grace and excellence. Then what? Well, that was just a warm up; now it’s time to put those tools to the test and see how far they will really help you run.

Completing this internship was only the prelude to our marathon, and there are many crests and troughs left to climb before we can retire at the finish line. Running alone might seem care-free, but there’s a long, unpredictable road that lies ahead.

It would be wise to run with a few friends you have met on the way, so be sure to keep in touch with the contacts you have made via LinkedIn or other networking sites. Also write “Thank You” cards to your department for the valuable opportunity to intern with them, and make sure everyone you’ve met over the course of your internship knows that you appreciated meeting them. Leveraging contacts, even that one intern you sat next to who never said a word to you, is crucial and will be beneficial in ways you may not even realize. Perhaps somewhere down the road that one intern might be the one to offer you water when you missed the last water stop.

 

Final Remarks

Thanks for reading our blog post. We hope these stages captured what it is like to be a KP intern, with hopes that you, and the next wave of interns, can read this article and leverage it as you go through the process of interning. Remember you are the next generation of the workforce, if you exercise these survival tips, you may increase your chances of making the transition from the red badge to the blue badge and KP needs you!!

Good luck!