We’re so excited that you’ll be completing your required School of Human Ecology (SoHE) internship this semester! Internships prepare SoHE students to be ready for the workplace and to impact the world around them after graduation! As a result of the internship experience, SoHE students will:
- Gain hands-on professional skills and experience in the industry related to their major and professional goals.
- Apply their major coursework to a real-world professional setting, and explore careers related to their major.
- Expand their professional network and community of support.
- Hone important workplace skills for their career and identify areas of professional growth.
- Prepare for their post-graduate goals (career, grad school, year of service…)
- Bonus: Possible job offers!
Internship Requirements & Coursework
During your time in the internship experience, you will work a minimum of 150 hours (we recommend logging your hours for your own reference if it’s not already an assignment for your course) and concurrently take a 3-credit virtual (asynchronous) internship course for your major. The internship course is a great complement to your internship work, as it will:
- Help you reflect on what you’ve learned in the experience and how you’re seeing your coursework come to life.
- Serve as a community where you can discuss common professional experiences with your peers and instructor.
- And guide you in creating plans for your future carer and professional development.
Your internship instructor will discuss their expectations of you in the course when it begins.
Preparing for Your Internship
Review the goals you initially set for your internship. Be sure to review these with your supervisor in the first week and then every couple of weeks or so. Do you need to change or add new goals?
Getting Ready for the First Day
Reach out to your supervisor to see if there’s anything you need to consider before the internship begins. Begin discussing your expectations and ask about your supervisor’s expectations of you.
Your Internship Experience
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As a reminder, you are taking the internship course (asynchronous, virtual) at the same time you are working your internship. You are expected to work at least 150 hours during the semester- this is a very important requirement of earning the 3 credits for your internship course.
Activities in your internship course will help you reflect on your learning in the workplace and how you’re using your coursework “in action.” You will also begin to think about the next steps in your career.
Internship courses generally have a mid-point and end-of-semester evaluation that you will complete with your internship supervisor. You are responsible for communicating the assignment to your supervisor and submitting through Canvas.
Adhere to agreed upon schedules including start/end dates, remote work, vacation requests, and sick days. Your employer and supervisor are counting on you!
Expectations & Culture in the Workplace
Know and follow the employer’s expectations, policies, and procedures. If you don’t know what these are, be sure to ask!
Learn about the culture of your organization from coworkers. What are the norms? What do you have questions about?
Resource: Getting a Read on Corporate Culture
Impression & Reputation
Make a good impression!
Know and follow the organization’s dress code (even if you’re virtual).
You are always representing your organization, UW-Madison, and SoHE. Act responsibly at social and work events.
Maintain confidentiality. You may have access to sensitive information- know your organization’s policies!
Workplace Attitudes & Behaviors
In a world with many distractions, it is important to stay focused on your work and colleagues. Understand the boundaries between work and personal time (i.e. limit use of personal cell phone during work hours or don’t shop on the internet on company time).
Have a positive attitude!
Recognize stress or frustration when it bubbles up, and learn how to manage it positively.
Be solutions oriented. Bring up problems by asking questions and bringing ideas or resources.
Be engaged and prepared.
Communication in the Workplace
Have you ever heard the phrase “communication is key”? Well, this is definitely the case for internships and in the professional workplace:
- Ask questions and be curious!
- Ask for help after you’ve checked resources available to you (it’s like referring to the syllabus before asking your professor a question).
- Practice active listening.
- Pursue additional opportunities.
- Seek mentors and make connections. Build lifelong network connections and possible references!
- Ask for feedback.
- Communicate your progress and achievements.
Resources: Why it’s Ok to Ask for Help at Your Internship, How Active Listening Can Boost Your Career (And How to Do It Right), Networking at an Internship, How to Ask Your Boss for Feedback, Recording Your Work Accomplishments
Considerations and Resources for Virtual/Remote Interns
What will your workspace look like and how will you focus your time and attention on your internship? How will you conduct your self and contribute in meetings?
Communication, feedback, and supervision look a lot different in the virtual world than being able to walk to your supervisor’s office for an impromptu chat. When will you check in with your supervisor and/or team? What will communication look like? How will you receive feedback on a regular basis?
Teamwork also looks different! What will collaboration and project work with your coworkers look like?
Also, how will you make connections and network with your coworkers? How will you feel out the organization’s culture in the virtual space? Perhaps virtual coffee chats are in your future!
How will you stand out and add value to your workplace, team in a remote world?
Resources: Remote Work Team Solutions for Students, How to Make Friends During a Remote Internship, How to Work from Home, Remote Meetings: Best Practices, Standing Out and Adding Value in a Remote Role, How to Stay Focused and Productive When Working From Home
Challenges and Concerns During the Internship
Concerns or questions should first be discussed with your internship supervisor if you are comfortable.
If they are not answered or resolved, contact your internship course instructor or SoHE’s internship coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) right away. This may include:
- Problems with supervision.
- Internship is not relevant or challenging.
- A personal situation that will affect your attendance/performance.
- Harassment in the workplace.