by Brooke Muller
The idea of a first internship is daunting. It can be a first experience in the real world. No one expects it to be easy or perfect, and day-to-day challenges are to be expected. One can prepare for these by keeping an open mind and reminding oneself that these challenges are normal. But sometimes problems arise that no one can see coming.
During my internship at a digital marketing company last summer, my boss left the company one month into my time there. She was my mentor, my source of information and also the head of communication for the company’s website re-design. When she left, the Vice President of Marketing appointed me the new Head of Website Communication. The opportunity was very exciting, but also intimidating. The entire company frequently asked about the site’s status and there was so much to learn and coordinate. As the summer progressed, I learned to make the most of this challenge, and by the end, felt accomplished with all I had done.
Here are a few tips on how to turn an unexpected challenge into a welcomed opportunity:
- Change your thinking. While you may not be able to control a situation, you are able to control your attitude. A positive attitude is essential when facing a new problem. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can handle it. The task may seem difficult, but the first step to tackling it is easy. Give yourself a mental pep talk and get ready to get to work.
- Find what works for you. The next step is to find a plan that works for you. My boss handled the website communication by making a color-coded chart. I found that making lists was my go-to. I felt in control and organized when I had a list in front of me with what needed to be done that day. Everyone has a different style. By finding what works best for yourself, you gain a sense of control over the situation.
- Rely on the support of others. Remember that just because a challenge was given to you, does not mean you are solely responsible for it. I was wary to ask coworkers for help at first because I saw it as a sign of weakness. But that was wrong. Your co-workers want you and the project to succeed, and are usually willing to lend a helping hand. It takes strength, rather than weakness, to speak up and ask for help. You are only human and cannot do everything on your own.
Unexpected challenges are a part of life. They may seem nerve-wracking at first, but with the right mindset, plan of attack and help from others, any problem can be successfully solved.
– Brooke Muller, Account Executive