How To Conquer These 10 Intern Fears

Heather R. HuhmanCandidate Advice

intern stressed at work
intern stressed at work

Image Credit: Nervous work image from Bigstock.

Fetching coffee. Making thousands of copies. These are just a few of an intern’s favorite things.

In a recent article “14 Awfully Frustrating Things That Every Intern Goes Through,” there’s a list of fears many interns experience. Although these are common fears for interns, there’s no reason for you to allow them to get the most of your internship experience.

To help you stay calm as you enter your next internship, I’m going to help you divide and conquer some of the most frustrating things you might experience as an intern:

1. The nerve-wracking interview.

There’s no doubt that your first interview for an internship will be terrifying. In fact, 92 percent of Americans are afraid of at least one thing about the interview process. No matter how nervous you are, it’s important for your to keep your cool and stay confident.

How to conquer this fear: The best way to prepare for an interview is to make sure you’re prepared. There’s really no reason for you to stress about the interview if you’ve researched the employer, reviewed your resume, and prepared accomplishment stories for common interview questions. Just remember to breathe, be yourself, and let your passion shine through. This will help you land any internship in the bag.

2. Waiting for results from the interview.

This is probably one of the most torturous parts of the entire internship process. After the interview, you’ll be sitting on pins and needles as you wait for a response.

How to conquer this fear: Although you might worry about not hearing back, it’s important to remember recruiters and employers are very busy people. Patience is of the essence when waiting to hear from employers. Do your best to stay calm and if you don’t hear back within 10 days of the date the hiring manager said they’d be in touch, be sure to follow up with an email regarding the status of your application.

3. Your scary first day.

Next to the interview, the first day of your internship can be absolutely terrifying. Especially when your coworkers refer to you as the “new intern,” you might feel a little pressured about your position. But don’t worry, after a few weeks you’ll adjust and fit right in with the rest of the office.

How to conquer this fear: When you begin your first day, you need to walk in with confidence and the readiness to learn. Expect to have lots of paperwork and manuals to read, meetings with coworkers, and crash courses in different programs. If you have the mindset that you’re ready to learn, you’ll be able to handle the information a lot easier.

4. One-on-one meetings with your supervisor.

Even if you’ve heard from your coworkers that your supervisor is the nicest person in the world, the first one-on-one meeting can be a little scary. First of all, you don’t know exactly what feedback they’ll have. In addition, you’ll be worried about fulfilling their expectations. However, it’s important to not fear these one-on-one meetings because they’ll only make you a stronger intern.

How to conquer this fear: It’s important to go into these meetings with an open mind and enthusiasm. Whether the feedback your supervisor has is positive feedback or constructive criticism, make sure you have a can-do attitude. Your supervisor realizes you’re in the learning process, so don’t be so hard on yourself when they provide feedback on your areas for improvement.

5. Being introduced at the office and fitting in.

The first day of your internship will come with a roller coaster of feelings. You’ll be excited yet anxious about meeting your coworkers and learning about your duties. When it comes to introductions to your coworkers and the other interns, it’s important to be yourself and to be approachable.

How to conquer this fear: When you’re introduced to your coworkers, remember to smile, have a positive attitude, and be confident. You’re going to be working with these people for the next three to six months, so you want to be genuine in your introductions.

6. The endless mountains of work.

When you get settled in, chances are there will be an endless supply of work waiting for you. From making copies to starting projects, you’re going to have your hands full with a variety of tasks. The stress you encounter will definitely be different from any type of stress you’ve experienced before.

How to conquer this fear: In order to handle the variety of projects, numerous meetings, and endless deadlines, you’ll have to teach yourself to prioritize. From making copies to finishing projects, you’ll have to be the master of your schedule and make sure you get everything completed on time. As you tackle your work, be sure to remove distractions, set goals, and ask for help when needed. This will help reduce the stress of the first few weeks of your internship.

7. The “I have no idea what I’m doing” panic mode.

No matter how prepared you feel going into your internship, there are going to be a number of curveballs your manager throws at you. There will be programs you’ll need training in and projects that will have you asking your boss hundreds of questions. However, it’s important to remember you’re here to learn and you will be successful during the internship no matter what.

How to conquer this fear: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the new type of work, it’s important to be resourceful. The majority of the projects you’re assigned will be new to you, but you have to learn how to adapt. Whenever you have a question, try to find the answer on your own and if you’re still struggling, ask another coworker and then your boss for help. These people are here to help you, so don’t hesitate to ask questions when they pop up.

8. Being the first one in and the last one out.

The saying goes if you’re not 15 minutes early, then you’re already late. Although this piece of advice might seem daunting to a college student, it’s the only way you’re going to get ahead as an intern. The reality is, there will be days when you must show up an hour early for work and even stay later at night.

How to conquer this fear: Although working late won’t be your favorite thing to do, it’s important to have a positive attitude to get yourself through. If you focus on maintaining your productivity, you’ll work more efficiently and won’t have to stay longer than you need to.

9. The monotonous work and daily grind. 

After a while, your internship may lose its excitement and reward. If you find yourself becoming consumed by monotonous work and the same thing every day, there are a few things you can do to improve your situation.

How to conquer this fear: If you’re feeling like you aren’t learning anything new from your work, this is a sign for you to speak up to your employer. When you’re not feeling challenged enough, don’t hesitate to ask your manager for additional assignments or new types of projects. Sometimes all you need to do is express your needs in order to improve your experience.

10. The nail biting review.

The final review is probably on of the most intimidating meetings you’ll have to look forward to as an intern. Regardless of how well you’ve performed during your internship, you’re probably worried your manager will have something negative to say.

How to conquer this fear: First off, don’t work yourself up before the review. This will only make you feel more nervous. The best way to calm this fears is to make sure your prepared for the review by providing examples of the work you’ve completed and any questions you may have.

Just because you’re an intern doesn’t mean you should live in fear of your work or employer. By maintaining a positive attitude, having confidence, and being willing to learn, you’ll have much less to fear during your internship.

What are some of your biggest fears as an intern? Share them in the comments below!

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.