In April my fellow intern, Haleah Cassell, wrote a blog a about what she had learned while interning at FLIRT. Now it’s my turn to reflect on my experience as a FLIRT intern and I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot, from how to create a family environment in the office to something as simple as learning Hootsuite. Listed below are the big ideas I’ll be taking away from this internship and hopefully insightful tips that will help guide future interns.
1. Take initiative
While this is cliché, it is also one of the most important things an intern can do. Taking initiative shows leadership and drive to contribute your skills to the success of the business. This was especially important at FLIRT as a graphic design intern because there may not always be an opportunity to design but there were always other ways to get involved. Whether it was asking if anyone needed help or if it was planning social media, there was something that could be done by taking initiative.
2. Ask questions
No one expects you to know everything, if they did you wouldn’t be an intern. There has been a few times where I could’ve saved myself time by asking for more details of what is expected of me, instead of wasting time by wondering if I was doing something right. When a project is unclear or if it’s your first time doing something it is more than ok to ask questions. Now I find myself asking multiple questions when starting a project because I’ve learned that it is far easier to progress when everyone is on the same page from the start.
3. Become friends with the other interns
This one might be obvious, but being friends with the people you work with, especially fellow interns, makes coming into the office that much more enjoyable. I mention the interns in particular because they’re in the same boat as you and can be more helpful than you think. There were multiple times at FLIRT that we utilized each other to brainstorm and came up with something better than what I could think of on my own, even if it was just a blog title or Instagram caption. Besides being able to help with tasks, being friends with your fellow interns gives you someone to talk to when you need a small break from work.
4. Give options when possible
If time allowed, I found that giving more design options to myself and the client was extremely helpful. This was beneficial because I found that trying out different options produces creativity and new ways of thinking. The first idea is usually the easiest and most likely to be my favorite, but it usually is within a style that I don’t necessarily want to get stuck in. Clients benefit from more options because there’s a greater chance they’ll like one of your ideas and possibly combine what they like from each idea to make the final design more satisfying.
5. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
I often found myself worrying about doing everything perfect the first time but the comfortable environment at FLIRT has helped me learn that I’m still growing as a young designer and that’s perfectly fine! It took me some time to realize this, but there’s a reason FLIRT chose me as an intern, right? Once I realized they had confidence in me to complete tasks it became much easier for me to have confidence in myself and my work. It may sound cliché, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to be perfect as long as you put forth your best efforts.
When I started at FLIRT I knew that I would learn many new skills while working in a professional environment, but I didn’t expect to be able to apply those same skills to my everyday life. My experiences here have made me a better professional, designer, and person in general and I would say that the best tip I could give to achieve this would be to listen to others experiences; it is truly the best way to learn, not only about the industry but about company culture as well!