When we were younger, summers were filled with late nights, sleeping until the clock said PM, and having all your best friends readily available to spend the day by the pool with you. Then college starts and your future becomes a very close reality. You have to do what you can to prepare, which is why so many college students dedicate their summer breaks to an internship.
For 10 weeks or more we uproot ourselves from our college environment to do a test drive of the corporate world. This, of course, is easier said than done. Here are some of the biggest transitions I had to deal with this summer.
Giving up the snooze button
Unfortunately, we can’t manipulate drop/add to determine what time we have to wake up in the morning, nor can we ask our bosses if we can work 12:15p.m. to 3:30p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 12:20p.m.-3:35p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. At CSC, it’s a full 40-hour week of non-stop learning, with our days starting somewhere between 7a.m. and 9a.m. With a team of people relying on us, it’s crucial that we show up when we’re supposed to.
For me, the Northern Virginia traffic has me up at unspeakable hours of the morning, meaning I had to adjust my entire sleep schedule to make sure I didn’t miss anything in the office. There was no “15 more minutes” or “I’ll get the notes from someone else,” but that’s a good thing. It made sure I was taking advantage of every minute we had with CSC’s top professionals.
Who are you and why aren’t you wearing yoga pants?
As you can imagine, the crowd in the hallways of a corporate office is much different than the crowd you see walking around campus. This is the time to perfect your professional image. The easiest and most obvious place to start is your wardrobe. CSC doesn’t have a strict suit-and-tie policy, but you still want to look your best while being comfortable.
Image doesn’t stop at what you wear. I learned it’s a good idea to create professional social profiles. This doesn’t only work internally with your coworkers, but they can also be used to connect with professionals from companies all over – so start networking.
Living back at home
Like many other interns, I moved back home for the summer to be close to the CSC corporate office. I went from unsupervised living to being asked, “Where are you going? Who else is going? When will you be back?” anytime I reached for my car keys. My personal favorite is “Is this really all you’ve done today?” Dad, it’s 3p.m. on a Sunday and I’m on the couch in my pajamas. We both know the answer is yes.
But although there may be more eyes on me than at school, I’ve learned to appreciate the time I’ve had at home. No one else will ask me how my day was or listen to me when I come home excited over the new project I got assigned. I suggest you appreciate the time you have left at home, because soon enough you’ll be off on our own.
Though I had to adjust a little bit, I can honestly say that it was worth it to intern with CSC. The insight I got was worth the early mornings, getting dressed up every day, and hanging out with my parents all summer. The knowledge I’ve gained is priceless, and I know when I return to campus life I will miss every experience I had with CSC.
Loren Treague is a student at Virginia Tech, studying Marketing and Management. She is interning with the Global Brand & Digital Marketing team at CSC. Previously, Loren has interned with Corsec Security, Fluent Group, and the Herndon Braves. Loren enjoys traveling and Virginia Tech football.