What I learned Wednesday: Embracing the intern role

by Jock Lucas, Rowland Intern

Published on
September 11, 2019

Internships are daunting. If you are anything like me, you literally had no idea what to expect. What do I wear? When do I go on lunch? Do I put a comma here or there? What does ETL, KDM, SEO, BDV and WIP mean? (Yes, I made one of those acronyms up).

Earlier this year, I stepped out of my teenage years and into Rowland. As I was given a tour of the office, I already felt hopeless as I tried to remember everybody’s name. I was expecting to be given minimal, basic work someone without a degree would surely be capable of. I was only an intern after all.

You can imagine my surprise when interesting and important tasks started coming my way. You can also imagine my surprise when I received positive feedback on these tasks. You cannot imagine how I felt when some of my work actually made it into the final copy for the first time.

What I realised rather quickly was: I’m here as an intern, I might as well embrace it. So here are a few ways I tried to make the most of the role of an intern.

Don’t be intimidated

I do not think I had been in an office space since I was seven years old running around my dad’s desk on weekends. It is intimidating as an intern — almost like being in a class a few years above your year. You do not want to sneeze, type too loudly or be a distraction of any kind. Relax. There is nothing wrong with politely asking someone for help even with the simplest of tasks, like how to use the printer or where the mugs live in the kitchen.

Go on, give it a go

Do not be afraid of attempting tasks you have had no experience with before. Whether it be a media holding statement, analysing Google Ads or interviewing a Cole’s employee celebrating 40 years on the job, just give it a go. Every single person around you once had the same experience and they are there to help you if need be.

Join in

Quick coffee break? You betcha I’ll come. Want to sit in on a meeting? Count me in. It is these small opportunities that immersed me in the business world. Just because you do not know exactly what is going on does not mean you cannot listen and learn. Make notes on how your mentors and supervisors communicate with clients efficiently and professionally, and pick up on the subtleties and nuances you might otherwise be too focused to notice.

My time as an intern at Rowland has been nothing short of incredible. And while this is largely due to the people I have had support me, I like to think that by embracing my role, I made it just that little bit better.