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Making the Most of your Health Communication Internship

By: Mariah LaRue

During summer quarter, all MSHC students must have an internship or complete a practicum. Based on my experience level, I chose to do the internship rather than the practicum. In my time at my internship there are a few things I have learned that have helped me get the most out of my internship experience. Set goals Some of the goals in an internship might be set by your manager, but it is also important to set personal development goals. My managers helped me set goals related to my project timeline. They gave me a clear road map of the things I needed to accomplish and deliverables I needed to produce. In addition to project goals, I also set personal goals.

For me this was things like choosing a particular skill to focus on developing, and setting the intention to talk to at least 3 people outside of my department. The personal goals helped me work on developing leadership skills and connections in the organization while the project goals helped me ensure I was fulfilling the needs of the organization.

Build Relationships

For me, one of the most valuable parts of my internship involved building relationships with others in various departments across the organization. I made these connections in a variety of ways. Sometimes I would be referred to certain people based on their knowledge related to my project. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate with professionals in a variety of different sectors. Other times, I would find myself interested in learning more about another department or different part of the organization and would directly reach out for informational interviews. Finally, I met people through networking groups. My organization had a young professionals group, and by attending the events I was able to meet and talk to other young professionals I may have never otherwise encountered. Meeting all these people helped me build a clearer picture of the organization and helped me learn more about the industry. Now the challenge will be staying in touch with all the people I met after my internship is over.

Time Management

Balancing school and  internship meant that I had to be diligent with time management. Luckily, I had fairly set hours in my internship so I knew how much time I had for homework each day and could plan accordingly. With a little bit of self-discipline, it was no problem and I was able to focus on work at the office and school work at home. For me, the internship was a very rewarding and valuable experience. While each internship is  different for everyone, its is important to go into the experience prepared to do quality work, and be intentional about what you do to make the most out of your short time at an organization.