How to sustain the learning from your summer job or internship (Part 1) - Undergrad Success

How to sustain the learning from your summer job or internship (Part 1)

How to sustain the learning from your summer job or internship (Part 1)
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So you managed to get a summer job or internship and college seems like months away. You are getting you head down, putting in the shifts, living and learning. Time goes by and bye goes the time. How do you sustain the personal gains you make  going forward?

I’ll show you how giving proper attention to three essential elements will give you a good chance of success. The first of these is the ability to reflect as you go along.

  1. Capture your reflections

Find a method that suits you – video/audio/paper diary, write a regular blog, tweet. Decide what you will record, how often, when to take stock and review. Build this habit into your current routine so you get a regular reminder and it pushes you to do it. Reflect on why you are successful. Break it down bit by bit.


For significant events, ask yourself:

  • What do I intend doing/not doing?
  • What did I do?
  • What was the result?
  • What did I learn about myself and others?
  • What surprised/did not surprise me?
  • What helpful/unhelpful patterns are emerging?
  • What will I continue doing, start doing or stop doing?


  1. Get mentored

Find someone on whom you can bounce your ideas, thoughts, feelings, learning and concerns or go to for wise counsel. Look for someone you trust who can support and challenge you.


  1. Join an online or face-to-face group

Find like-minded people who want to learn, reflect on their development, and share good ideas and practices. Check out groups on LinkedIn or Google hangouts.


  1. Get feedback

Your boss, colleagues at work, friends and family are the people who know you best. They will have a view on what you are doing well and where you can improve. Ask them.


  1. Ask yourself tough questions

OK, this is the one where a cool, quiet place with a beer might be needed. Ask yourself some tough questions and listen to what your guts say. For example, “How do I want to be remembered when l leave this job/internship?”

Reflecting is not a luxury, it’s a critical skill for 21st Century learning.  As the Buddhists say, “Don’t just do something, sit there”.

If you liked this post, come back for Part 2 on banking your successes!

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David Shindler is the author of Learning to Leap, a Guide to Being More Employable and co-author of 21st Century Internships: how to get a job before graduation. An experienced personal and professional development coach and consultant, David helps individuals, teams and organizations build the people skills and mindsets they need now and for the future. He runs the Employability Hub (free resources for students and graduates).

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