3 THINGS TO BRING TO YOUR SUMMER INTERNSHIP

As a reformed law student from France wrapping up Week 2 of a summer internship in consulting in New York City, here are the three must-haves for success as an intern.

#1 — Your Smile

First of all, bring your smile for your employer. Your boss is a human being. She has a heart, a brain, and a memory. It is always better for her to remember you as a Smart Smiler than a rigid, discontent complainer.

Additionally, bring your smile for yourself. As Darwin wrote in “The Science of Smiling:” Smiling is universal. It is the outward manifestation of happiness and serves to connect us to others. Moreover, we as humans mimic the facial expression of people around us. Therefore, your smile can be contagious and play in your favor. In fact, it will perfectly match any wonderful outfit you spent two hours picking out last night (especially if there is any smart and cute guy interning with you).

#2 — The Key

I am not talking about the key to your apartment. (But seriously, don’t forget that one, either. ) The key I mean is the key to the safe where you keep your ego. Yes, somehow internship rhymes with no-ego. If you have to act out a horse in an improv training session, you will become a horse from the head to the tail. Believe me, speaking from very personal and recent experience, you will need tons of humility for that! If all of your fellow interns do the same, and set their ego aside in the spirit of the group, you’ll all get a working environment marked by trust, sincerity and confidence. Which, by the way, is the best kind of environment for learning!

#3 — Determination

Determination consists of motivation and inspiration. It’s is the most important fuel you can use to survive and thrive as an intern. It will make the difference between you and your peers. Being motivated to succeed will ensure you do high quality work, and then open doors for your future. And inspiration is the catalyst to your motivation. It transforms motivation into determination, giving you a reason to wake up, proofread your deliverable a fourth time before submitting to your manager, or make an introduction to your uncle or classmate to help your boss. There is no big or small inspiration: maybe a promise you made to your best friend, a word from your mother, a diner with you cousin and a surprise guest, a taste that reminds you of your grandmother cooking, the laugh of your sisters, a simple act of consideration between two strangers that you catch in the subway or even a random picture on Instagram. In fact, inspiration is as contagious as smiling. Be inspired and become a source of inspiration.

So keep your bag light (New York commutes are brutal), but don’t forget the essentials: a smile, key to your ego, and determination. Finally, I’ll share the words of John Green, which I learned from Diana Ayton-Shenker, who’s leading our Values in Action curriculum: “DFTBA: Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.”

Lisa Joullié.

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