“It is okay to be a work in progress. You are constantly learning and becoming the best version of yourself, and it is okay if you do not know everything your first day or if it takes you a while to learn how to do something! An internship is an internship for a reason; you are supposed to be learning and growing continually.
“When you take on an internship, there is an established understanding between you and your employer that this experience is for you to dip your toes in the industry and get a feel for what it is like. They do not expect you to know everything by any means and understand that you will make mistakes! The reason you are an intern is to learn! My internships through Disney were not exactly called internships, as I was not a part of the Disney College Program. Instead, I was just a part-time employee. However, I informed my leaders that I was using the job to satisfy an internship credit for college, and they were incredibly understanding and helpful in framing the job as an internship. We are all human, and making mistakes is perfectly okay. You just have to be open, honest, and take responsibility for your mistakes.
“Also, networking was incredibly important for securing an internship. For the internships I have done, whether at Disney or UCF, I had to network with my professors, people within the hospitality industry, or leaders at Disney and UCF. To start building a network, my biggest suggestion is to start talking to your professors and people within the UCF communities you are involved in. You never know who knows whom, and it is vital to make sure that you put your best foot forward and make yourself known. Other ways to build your network include creating a LinkedIn account and connecting with people in your field, attending Career Fairs, and just asking questions when you happen to find yourself in the right place at the right time.
“In terms of LinkedIn, once you feel you have an established page, it is time to start connecting with people. First, connect with your friends and people that know you well just to build up your network. Then, work on your professionalism and start connecting with your professors. When you connect with people, you can send a personalized message asking someone to connect. Introduce yourself to your professors and ask them to connect. This should be a time for you to experiment with how you professionally introduce yourself. Afterward, it is time to introduce yourself to people you may not know personally within your industry. Your practice with friends and professors has led to this moment! Make sure to say who you are, where you go to school, and what you are studying. Then, get to the purpose of why you are connecting with them. It is never bad to boost the ego of the person you are trying to connect with! Flatter them a little bit, but not too much. Overall, you want to make yourself stand out in the few sentences you have when connecting with someone!”