INTERNSHIPS: CHALLENGES AND WAYS FORWARD
- By Shivani Bisht
“The working world is like a forest where the interns secure the last position in the food chain”.
There is a rapid alteration in the style of internships. Earlier the jobs that as criteria for entering have now changed into internships with no stipend and privileges. I regard Internships without stipend as obstacles to pass in many areas to achieve internships with a stipend. Many students go for internships with very high hopes but they become furious when their internship does not go well with their expectations. In this chapter, my entire focus is on the challenges faced by individuals in unpaid internships and ways to overcome those challenges.
Main Challenges Faced in Internships and their Solutions
The main challenges created by the working atmosphere of the internships are:
1) A Lot of workloads: Since the interns are available and also because they are eager to learn things at their young age, many workplaces used to provide them boring and repetitive work for long hours. As the interns are working without stipend, many workplaces make them do their work and in that way reduce their burden.
Solution: The interns must make clear in their minds the goals they want to achieve in their life in the long-term and then they should handle that workload with ease.
2) Competition with other interns: The working atmosphere of internships is not cordial because interns are having competitive feelings against other interns. This competitive feeling arises because each intern expects a good recommendation letter from the internship and also wishing for job opportunities.
Solution: In these kinds of situations the best option is to relax and try to establish a cordial relationship with others. The best quality one can have is to be open-minded and a person with whom it is easy to work with. It is possible that one is not fast in working but people will desire to work if one has a good attitude and enjoy doing his work.
3) Supervisors do not remember that an intern is new to the field: It is common during internships that work given by the supervisors and they also provide explanations regarding how to do the assigned work. Yet there are maximum possibilities that the explanation given by the supervisor is not making sense to you and you cannot know what your supervisor expects you to do. A good practice is that where even after thinking all the explanations provided by the supervisor to be correct you explain to him the details of the work to make sure you are on the same page with your supervisor.
Solution: If the work is not understandable then as an intern you should ask them again and again as they have to explain to you and you’re right to ask. By asking the questions you will impress your supervisor as he will presume that you care to do the work.
Many times the supervisor is not present. In that circumstance, e-mail can be helpful to communicate with the supervisor. Apart from the e-mail, directly phone calling your supervisor will be of great importance as explanation provided by the supervisor on phone calls is more memorable.
4) A New Lifestyle: For interns, it is usually difficult to adjust with the office environment. In college, they usually wake up at 9 or 10 but while interning they have to be present there from 9 to 5. The new lifestyle and working hours make socializing more problematic.
Solution: While interning your aim should not be to go home, eat, shower and sleep. Instead, enjoy every hour of your internship in learning new things from your supervisor. Your routine during your internship must socialize with new peoples and doing adventurous activities.
5) Fear of Asking Questions: In an internship, supervisor assign a lot of works to interns and that is the time when they prove themselves. But there comes a point while doing the work that you are not sure about a particular point but since your supervisor has explained it to you many times you are having a fear of asking a question to him. You started having an intuition that you have to be an independent and self-sufficient person but this wrong as instead of doing the wrong work it is better to clear the doubts.
Solution: There is a golden rule which every intern must follow i.e. avoid assuming things. It is always advisable to cross-check things if you are not sure about it. By following this rule one can avoid frivolous errors.
6) Work of the Interns Not Used: Sometimes you are well aware with the project given by your supervisor and you are confident to do well in that project. But, then you find that they have misplaced your project, or not published anywhere. Because of the interaction among the seniors, you find that your work is no more important for them. Because of all this, you will not only feel frustrating but this will de-motivate you to do the work with the same efforts and enthusiasm.
Solution: Instead of having an intuition that your work is of no more importance you should publish your work online. You should see it as enhancing your resume. You should publish all the works by you during your internship period and this will surely help you in coming future.
7) Not Enough Work: The main reason to go for an internship is to have useful work experience. But it is obvious to have a feeling of frustration if an intern is not getting adequate work from the supervisor. Sometimes the supervisor allots a very easy work, and the intern completes it even before lunchtime. The entire time after the lunch passes in watching movies, exploring Facebook or getting bored.
Solution: If you are not having work to do in the office I recommend it to you to write a research paper and publish it in good journals. The best thing to do is to chat with the employees or your fellow interns to know their future goals and to learn more about your profession which can help you build your careers.
There are only some prevalent and known challenges faced by interns during internship but there are also appropriate solutions or ways to handle those challenges so that your internship is as successful as you were hoping. One thing to keep in mind during the internship is that they recognize every intern as a beginner. The main benefit of being a beginner is that the supervisor instead of giving you a load of tasks they expect questions from you. To enjoy your stay during internship, you must clear your doubts with your supervisor, make efforts to mix with peoples and to socialize with your colleagues. Last, I consider internships the best way to prepare a person for life in the real world. Interns must make most of what it gives to them and also try to overcome problems faced by them during the internship.
View Expressed are writers' work The topic discussed here is a brief of the subject matter and should not be substituted as proper legal advice. If a matter comes up under this topic then it is strictly advisable to consult a professional for advice and for the procedure and practice to be followed.
Student, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur.
 Penny Loretto: “Don’t Let Common Problems Ruin Your Internship”.
 Article by Krisha Maclang on July 23, 2015.
 Article by Sabina Yeasmin on Internship Challenges.
 Shanyah Saunders: “Tips for Overcoming Internship Challenges”.
 Tara McNerney: “Challenges Faced by Interns”.
 Tan Zhi Inn: “Internship Challenges and ways to overcome them”.
 Saika Mehnaz: Challenges Faced By Intern as a Beginner.