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Now that your classes are in high gear, don’t let your summer internship experience become a distant memory. Before it all fades away, set aside time to reflect on priceless internship takeaways and how to apply them in developing lifelong skills.

Some Basics

Internships give you a realistic view of work life, and help you build and refine the skills you need to succeed within a corporate culture. While all cultures are unique, there are basic skills that distinguish the true professionals in any setting. If you think back to your internship, you’ll remember how effortlessly certain people put these skills into practice. Commit to making these basics a part of your daily routines starting now.

Punctuality is essential.  It shows that you’re professional and can manage your time.  Becoming known as the person who is always first to the meeting is far better for your reputation than straggling in late.

Be prepared.  Review the agenda before a meeting and do some research so that you’re familiar with the topic, challenge or project.  With preparation, you’ll be far more ready to ask thought-provoking questions or add valuable insights to the conversation.

Find the good. Practice displaying a positive attitude even when things aren’t going your way. Get on board and support the ideas of others even if you think your idea is superior. An open mind and a view toward finding the good will be remembered. The payoff will come when it’s your turn to sell an idea or lead a project. Others will step up to give you the support that you gave them.

Meet deadlines. If you commit, do everything you can to make it happen. At the very least, if a deadline becomes unmanageable, don’t wait until the last minute to raise the red flag.

Be enthusiastic. A high-energy level is contagious. Display a “get it done” attitude and people want you to be on their team.

Raise your hand when help is needed. Not every opportunity to help will be your favorite thing to do, but learn to take a chance and find the best in that opportunity. By volunteering for tasks that are out of your comfort zone, you’ll meet new people and make lasting relationships that will help you in the long run.

Accept rejection gracefully. Rejection is painful, but it will happen to the best of ideas. Learn to move on without a grudge. No pouting!

Whether your internship was exactly what you hoped for, or even disappointing, don’t underestimate the value of the experience your received. Take every opportunity to put your new skills to use, and build on the basics!