It’s the first day of your internship and…

It’s the first day of your internship and you DON’T want to start it with a huge gaffe. But it’s hard to know what’s acceptable when you’re at a new internship. You’re feeling your way in a new office culture very different from your school culture. To start off on the right foot, here are the top 5 things to avoid on your new internship, from real stories of former AU interns.

1. NO Tweeting, Texting, Tetris, Facebooking, Foursquaring, Farmville

Please don’t. Not on company time, in company space, and especially on company computers. You might be used to communicating 24/7 whenever the urge strikes, but fight the urge! I don’t care if you see anyone else doing it! Just don’t, unless you’re in social media and it’s part of your internship. No indiscretions, please. Don’t put unpleasant comments out there in public spaces, especially with the hashtag of your internship site! That’s a really fast way to get a pink slip, and a bad reputation.

2.  Don’t be unprepared!

This should be easy, but isn’t. Here’s your chance to make a first day impression and it’s a guaranteed embarassment if you’re late or don’t have some basic supplies like paper and pencil (or smartphone). Know what time you’re due to report, who you report to, what route you’re taking, and get there early. Remember to bring any documents or paperwork you’re supposed to bring. Have your lunch or a snack that doesn’t have to be refrigerated. Bring money. Bring your SmartTrip card. If you wear hose, bring clear nail polish in case you get a run.

3. Hold the informality

It’s lovely if your internship makes you right at home, but you aren’t! Keep your business communications FORMAL, don’t assume everyone has the same sense of humor as you, same rules for attire as with the job interview unless you have been specifically told otherwise. And be wary of chit chat. Not only is there a danger of TMI, but you’re not at the internship site to chat. Don’t be the intern who is let go because of being overly friendly and under productive. And from Day One on, avoid gossip, gossipers, and gossipping  at all costs!

4. Don’t be a Gregory Grumpus

Negativity can ruin your reputation before you’ve had a chance to show what you’ve got to offer. Your first day is when people sum you up. Don’t diss on past employers, your school, your hometown, the local sports teams, or what your new internship site has done in the past. Practice diplomacy. You needn’t plaster a smile on your face, either, but stick to the old adage of, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

5. Don’t ASSUME

It’s your first day and you’ve hopefully done what you can to be prepared. But if there’s anything you don’t know that you need to know, ASK. Also remember that the people working there have been at it awhile. Don’t ASSUME you can or should tell them how to do their jobs. Remember, to ASSUME means to make an

<——- out of YOU and ME!

So, though you try to avoid first day bloopers, you may still make mistakes. Have the right attitude and do your best.

Photos by @davestone, PhotoOptik, CarbonNYC, and AlphaTangoBravo/Adam Baker

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