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How to survive your internship!

If you have just secured an internship, congratulations for making your entrance into the working world! These few months could very well be the most stressful part of your student life: For the first time, youíre being exposed to real-life working conditions that could be vastly different from the theoretical situations found in the classroom and in textbooks. But donít worry, here is an internship survival guide designed to help you navigate through these unfamiliar waters!

Donít be afraid to share your ideas

You may be new and inexperienced, but thatís where your advantage lies! Great ideas come when there are other perspectives, and guess whose perspective is vastly different from those who have been working for years? Thatís right, the intern (you!) Your unique perspective would be very different from people who have been within the industry for years, and could just generate the spark needed for something truly great.

Take initiative

Some employers view interns as coffee-makers and photocopy machine operators. Donít allow yourself to be placed in that category! As much as you are able to, show initiative. Ask for tasks and make an effort to learn as much as possible, and avoid sitting around and waiting for tasks to be handed to you. After all, you are there to gain valuable working experience, not to become the Photocopier Whisperer or a mindless drone.

Remember: You want to be a leader, not a sheep.

Be punctual

If work starts at 9 am, be there by 8.45. Your tenure there will be scrutinised and evaluated so donít allow your excellent work to be marred by ďHabitually lateĒ or other such negativity. Punctuality is a subset of self-discipline, and you want to show your bosses that you are not only smart but disciplined and all-round Employee Extraordinaire.

Donít let others get you down

The reality of life is that there will be nice people as well as less-nice people who take pleasure in causing strife and stress. You may find that this is the case in your workplace. If you encounter negative people, one way to deal with them is to keep smiling! Some people find gratification in causing frowns and visible distress. If you can keep your cool and stay unfazed, they may give up and move on.

Co-workers and even bosses may make things tough for you and seem extremely unyielding and unreasonable, but they may be testing you and how determined you are to succeed. Stick to your guns and keep moving forward! Eventually, you will prevail. Everything you encounter in the workplace can and will help you in the future.

Ask for feedback

All feedback, whether negative or positive, is good as long as they are constructive. After reading the above, you might be a little worried about people being nasty; however, you should give their feedback some thought. Your boss telling you your work is not good enough does not automatically make him or her the ďbad guyĒ who is trying to get you down. Instead, he or she could be taking the ďtough loveĒ approach towards improving your work skills. If youíre not sure how youíre doing, ask! Donít be afraid of feedback; use them to propel yourself onwards and upwards. The quicker you are aware that there is a problem, the quicker you can fix it.

Spell check!

Letís hope that this section results in positive feedback over your spelling and grammatical skills. Use the spell and grammar checking functions available in Microsoft Word, they come free. Nothing is more embarrassing than looking like you canít spell, despite your level of education. Careless mistakes are common, but thatís what the spell check is for! The same goes for grammar. Keep sentences short, clear and grammatically correct as much as possible and your work will be professional and Ė most importantly Ė easy to understand.

Make friends

Hopefully, youíre in the industry that youíve been planning to work in. Whether you are or arenít, make friends! Be nice to everybody and you will be remembered fondly. Being remembered as a nice person could help, especially when youíve graduated and you want to get a job. If youíve been a personable intern, friendly and hard-working, it should be easy for your ex-colleagues to welcome you back into the fold, especially if there are vacancies. If there arenít any positions, it is also possible for them to help recommend you to another firm!

Have fun

Above all, be yourself and have fun! This is a great learning experience, so grab this opportunity with both hands and try to experience everything that company can offer. Be nice to people, but you donít have to be a crowd-pleaser. In the working world, you may soon find that there is no pleasing everybody. As long as you can get along with your team and perform the tasks required of you, youíre on the right track to success.

At the core of it, internships are what you make of them. They are sure to provide plenty of humor and fun as well as a leg up to launch your career. When you layer in learning new cultural norms at the same time, you have the potential to create your own epic adventure just like Billy and Nick in The Internship. In this movie, Billy (played by Vince Vaughn) and Nick (played by Owen Wilson), are salesmen whose careers are in serious jeopardy due to the advances of the digital age. Their ensuing hijinks demonstrate the challenges of applying for internships and jobs in the competitive job market, while still retaining their signature hilarity. The Internship also imparts a sense of hope to the audience; that hard work, combined with some flexibility and the awesome advances of technology, is what you need to get an edge over the competition in the hunt for quality jobs.

The Internship stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google along with a battalion of brilliant college students. Catch it in cinemas, 12 September 2013!

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