The First Day of Your Internship: What To Expect

School’s out for summer! Although classes are over, my office is buzzing with students getting ready to embark on their summer internships. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “What should I expect on my first day?” While this varies across companies, here are some general expectations to have going into day one of your internship:

  • You are always “on.” Many companies convert interns to full-time employees. As such, you need to think of your internship as an extended interview. Know that you are being evaluated the moment you enter the office.
  • It’s okay to be nervous….even if you are an extrovert or a leader of a student organization back at college. You are in a new environment with new people, and you’ll need to figure out where you fit. Put yourself out there, make introductions, and ask questions – it will make for an easier transition.
  • Don’t be surprised if you don’t “hit the ground running” on your first day. Your computer and/or work area may not be ready, and you will probably be spending a lot of your day filling out HR paperwork and going through some form of orientation.  Go with the flow and use this as an opportunity to learn more about your position and the office culture.
  • Your job description may not match up completely with what you are doing.  As a seasoned professional, I can confidently say that supervisors often make slight modifications to your position. Stay flexible and be open to change. Who knows – some of these changes may enrich your internship experience.

Having an understanding of what to expect your first day in the office will start you on the right path for your internship. Remember – if your goal is to one day work for the company you are interning for, make sure you maximize your entire internship experience. Best of luck this summer!


Heather currently serves as the Associate Director of Student Services for the Undergraduate Career Services Office in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. In her role, Heather guides students throughout their career development, lectures on career-related topics and personal branding, presents career workshops for students, supervises a team of career coaches, and develops/manages the social media efforts for her office. Before making the switch to Student Affairs, Heather worked in Marketing, Sales, and Promotion within the Music & Entertainment industry. Originally from New Jersey, Heather attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree and The Ohio State University for her graduate studies. You can connect with Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Related posts:

  1. The Importance of an Internship
  2. No Internship? No Problem!
  3. So, You’ve Got an Internship. Now What?

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