Why Being Uncomfortable as an Intern is a Good Thing

By Ali Graver || THG Summer Intern 2018

An internship provides an opportunity to sample a job and get a glimpse into the professional world. Often, college students look for internships that supplement what they learn in the classroom with real-world experience to become a well-rounded candidate who is prepared for a job post-graduation. An internship is an opportunity to learn new skills, network with professionals, and advance toward career goals. However, it is also a time of being thrust into an unfamiliar environment with new people and being asked to complete tasks you have never done before. As a result, internships can leave many feeling uncomfortable in their position. Being uncomfortable is not always a bad thing though; here’s why:

  1. You are mindful and genuinely care about making a good impression.

In the working world, who you work with can be just as important as the work you are doing. Internships are the perfect opportunity to network within your desired industry and learn from those connections. Whether it’s in the office, interacting with a client, or at a professional event, you are constantly making connections with people that you could potentially be working with once you enter the working world. Inevitably, this means that internships are an opportunity to leave an impression on someone you may encounter in your professional future. Networking can be uncomfortable and nerve wracking because it may leave you feeling the pressure to please others. An intern may feel these high expectations when they produce work or during normal day-to-day interactions. Ultimately, it is important to remember that while you want to leave a favorable impression on those you meet, it is also important that you remain yourself, because that is the only way you will know if you are on the path to success.

  1. You are leaving your comfort zone.

Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, once said, “The biggest rewards in life are found outside of your comfort zone. Live with it. Fear and risk are prerequisites if you want to enjoy a life of success and adventure.” Being comfortable in a situation means that you do not feel the pressure to change and therefore are not motivated to improve or evolve. This leads to stagnation and complacency. As an intern, and even as a professional in general, this is not a state of mind that you want to be in. When you leave your comfort zone you are exposed to people, places, and experiences that are unfamiliar, which can lead to growth. Being an intern means getting the first taste of the working world and presents the opportunity to grow, mature, and advance as a professional.

  1. You are learning.

Internships are a small taste of what life is like after college. Often this opportunity is an intern’s first exposure to an office setting, a workday routine, business attire, meetings, and project assignments. Each new experience results in learned lessons and more knowledge about what awaits them post-graduation. An internship can be a time of rapid professional growth and a chance to build your professional toolbox. As an intern, it is important to take advantage of this opportunity by asking questions, trying new things, and seeking feedback to maximize your learning potential.

Internships are widely recommended for young professionals to gain experience and insight into their field of interest. However, this new environment can be uncomfortable and leave many young interns feeling unsure of themselves. As an intern, it is important to remind yourself that feeling self-conscious is actually a good thing. Entering the office every morning with this mindset will help you achieve the best results by the close of the business day and by the end of your internship.