A Recipe for Growing as an Intern

Start out with 2 cups of slowly learning to contribute at meetings. After you spend the first week scared to say a word, know that your contributions don’t have to be solid fact. Sometimes your opinion alone is all that’s needed for the conversation, as long as you can back it up with some reasoning. Even when you’re completely wrong, your co-workers are patient and will help out.

Add 1 tablespoon of bitterness over the other intern who criticized you publicly. Remain unsure if there’s some sort of code about that. If desired, add an extra teaspoon of “I’d like to see him try to criticize his boss if he’s so smart. He probably thinks he’s so great.” Stay cautious of this person for the rest of the summer unless they say something nice about your next idea.

Dump in unlimited amounts of showing up early every single day and hoping to be noticed. Hope that one day, someone will stop by and compliment you on your dedication. Do this for several weeks straight and find that no one has done so. Maybe results on the projects you’re assigned are what matters most.

Put a pinch of unexpected opportunities to work with someone you didn’t know several hours ago. During a meeting, unexpectedly meet the head of the community service branch of your organization. Agree to help her out – all the tasks she needs help with involve things that interest you. You could see yourself doing this kind of stuff in the future.

Sprinkle 3 weeks of testing out different paths to work to save the most money on metro costs. Spend around $7 a day total your first week. By the end of week three, you’ll figure out a way to shave the cost down to $3 and see the White House every day before work. Be jealous of the people who don’t have to walk a mile in 85 degree weather at 8am. See that the heat may be difficult but finding new places and watching weird people outside the White House every day is totally worth it.

Put your dish in the oven for one whole summer. Slowly start to learn that everyone is better than you at what they do (for now), but see that they don’t get to have the Intern Work Buffet of helping everyone in the office. Know that you probably have it better than most people in the world; for now you get to choose where you go next in your career and in your life.