Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 3 Mentally Relocating

By: Kirsi

Keeping busy the first few days relocating is easy while warming up to a new living place, co-workers, and tasks at work. It seems like all the boxes are checked…

I have a place to sleep at night.
I planned a work commute.
I’m assigned interesting challenges at work.
I have met my co-workers, management, and fellow interns.
I attend events outside of work like movie nights and laser tag.

…but it still seems more like surviving instead of thriving. It may even feel robotic. What is missing is mental relocation.

blue and red toy robot; text: internship relocation challenges, mentally relocating

Transitioning Into Work Mode 
One of the toughest hurdles to overcome in order to make the most of your internship is transitioning into thinking like an employee. Thinking like an employee is hard if it’s the first time. Although it is a different mode of thinking from past experiences – such as academics, military, sports team, or for yourself – skills gained from past experiences can help you. Now that you are interning for an organization, the organization, department, and teams’ goals become your goals. Instead of fretting about solely personal performance, the performance of a business, product, service, or team is an additional responsibility. New thought processes that may arise include…

  • What can I learn from other employees working on the same project?
  • I have found a problem but how can I propose a way to fix it?
  • What has not worked in the past?
  • How do I want to develop professionally?
road with mountains surrounding it.

Embracing Temporal Independence
After the workday is finished, it’s time for school work…. wait, there is no school work? When you clock out there is no take home work? What is there to do?! Now that evening hours are cleared out, there are opportunities for how to spend your time. This may seem daunting if your usual summer/ school break friends aren’t around to goof around with and no school assignments to tackle. Filling your time does not necessarily mean filling it with people and socializing. There are many things to do with allocated time…

  • Try a new hobby you have not had time to dig into
  • Pick up a new sport/ esport
  • Explore the new location
  • Hangout with fellow interns 
  • Chill at home
  • Host a board game night
  • Try new restaurants with fellow interns
  • Take a day trip to a city nearby
back of woman walking with umbrella on a rainy street

Managing Existential Dread
After harnessing a new mode of thinking as an intern and finding new things to do with un-allocated time, there may be some intermittent moments of doubt. When you are turning in for the night, the lights are out, the door is locked, and suddenly a new place can feel pretty scary. Trying something new on your own can be intimidating too. It’s not uncommon to lose confidence, question if you like what you are working on, and fear transitioning into life beyond college. Call a family member, friend, or someone you trust and share your worries with them. Additionally, you can contact counselors at the career center for big picture career questions like, “I have learned so much at this internship but I don’t know what to do next”, “I don’t know if I like what I am doing”, “I don’t like my major after having this internship, what do I do now?”. Career counselors’ goals are to help you take actions that will help you feel confident about your future.

Physically, socially, and mentally relocating, whew, didn’t realize there was so much involved in an internship after accepting an offer! Don’t let a new opportunity intimidate you. There is support all around and people who want you to be successful. Good luck!

Of Possible Interest: 
Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 1 Physically Relocating
Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 2 Socially Relocating
Internships – all our blog posts on the topic
Internships – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Rock’n Roll Monkey, Natalie Rhea Riggs, Patrick Tomasso

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