What is it like being an intern at 20 years old?
Some people think, “Oh! It’s coffee runs and paperwork and all the jobs nobody likes to do…” But there’s so much more to being an intern these days.
Along with all of our tasks can come insecurities and challenges that once we overcome push us deeper into the adult world.
First, let me tell you it is nerve racking!
Imagine this, being accepted to an internship program at the place you’ve always wanted to work at. Your boss and coworkers are all Super Stars at what they do.
I intern at Sports360AZ.com and The Brad Cesmat Show. Every day I report to the main man in charge, Brad Cesmat. I have absolutely no reason to be nervous coming in to work at all! My coworkers are some of the most genuine people I know. They understand I’m new at covering sports and since day one they’ve been uplifting and encouraging in every way. But for some reason, my 20-year-old mind gets to me and I still get goose bumps every day I show up to work.
I walk up three flights of stairs, turn the corner into Skyview Network Studios and say, “Good Morning!” to my coworkers. While all this goes down my heart beats real fast.
In my voice it’s “Good Morning!” from peppy little cheerleader Caitlin, but in my head it’s God help me I need your strength today. Whether that may be in interviewing a Coyotes hockey prospect whom I know nothing about and need to speedy learn everything about, or finding a way to get a hold of C.J. Cron with the Angels. Where do I even begin?!
To help calm the anxious voice inside my head I do something silly. It’s something I saw in a TED Talk video. I’m a little embarrassed to admit what it is.
I like to think of it similar to power posing. Have you heard of that?
In this TED Talk video, the speaker Amy Cuddy says body language can change the way people perceive you when you walk into a room.
So every day before work I stretch my arms out wide and hold it there for two minutes before entering the room. Of course not in front of people! I find a bathroom and stand in front of the mirror arms wide, silently hoping nobody comes walking in.
After this, I actually do feel more confident. It helps me become more aware of my body language and allows me to have an open mind before walking into any room or situation.
The next slice of the truth behind interning at 20 is it isn’t always easy to “be yourself.” Everyone says, “Just be yourself, you’ll be fine!” But nobody tells you how hard that can be sometimes.
For us interns, all we want is to be good enough. We want to be smart enough, professional and personable all at once. We know we’ll mess up, but we fear failure.
We are people pleasers. But we also want to be taken seriously. We want to make a lot of connections but we also want to set good first impressions. How can we possibly just be ourselves?
Honestly the trick here is to not beat yourself up. Take life a little less seriously and enjoy the ride.
A recent obstacle I faced happened to me when I was interviewing someone over the phone. For some reason I sound like a 12-year-old on the phone. I always worry if the person I’m talking to wonders, “Okay what child is prank calling me right now?”
In a recent conversation with my professor he said, “You have to be aware of your language when talking on the phone because it gives away who you are.” If we go from talking in our casual millennial way to talking to an adult we need to be aware of our language. This matters whether we’re on the phone or not. No slang words like ya, um, like, uh, duh … you know what I mean. 😉
Along with changing language we can’t forget about that power posing I talked about earlier. Even on the phone smile, sit up straight, etc. It will help you come across more confident through the phone.
The truth of the matter is this … it’s going to take time and lots of repetitions to get comfortable and to the point of the professionals we work alongside.
I find, the less we beat ourselves up the happier we’ll be in our internship.
Internships have become a season of life. College, internship, and then get hired, right? But remember, everyone moves at their own pace. Enjoy the time of learning and growth.
20-year-old Interns … We keep our heads down. We work hard. Give us time to grow. Allow us to soak up everything you say because before you know it we’ll bloom into something so beautiful.
So it’s more than just coffee runs. It’s the endless job of learning from your mistakes and failures. And faking it till you make it as some say. Just remember that one day it’ll be your turn to give back to the 20-year-old nervous little intern. Help them out in the same ways your boss and coworkers have helped you. Nourish them and watch them grow.
Click here to read my last article published on Sports360AZ.com!