Today marks the start of the seventh week of my internship. In that span of time, I've asked a lot of questions: “Am I doing this right? Will the lighting work for this picture? How does this look? Why can’t I find Helvetica on my computer? Where’s the bathroom?”
Actually, I was asking questions even before my internship started, way back when I first stepped inside the doors of L&S as a sophomore at SDSU. Some more “intelligent” than others, but none were as important as the simple question I asked on the second day of my internship.
“What can I do to help?”
A sincere question with an unanticipated result. I half expected to get a “Nothing really, but here’s a stack of papers you can three-hole punch.” Not even close. Instead, I found myself editing print ads for HuHot Mongolian Grill and creating mock-ups for Build Dakota. On the third day of my internship, I even got my hands on some Taco John’s® (both food and files). To say I was thrilled is an understatement, but getting down to it, I can’t say that I was confident that I could do work to the same standard as the designers around me. Still, I knew I was capable of something, and everything else I could learn along the way. Of course, my pep talk didn’t stop doubt from clouding my brain.
“What if it looks terrible?
What if I screw up the file?
What if this has nothing to do with the brand?
What if I get fired?
What if I am a disgrace to the design society?”
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that extreme, but I was definitely nervous. Eventually I was able to move past my own self-doubt and realize that I am here for a reason. Sure, I still have a lot to learn, but that doesn’t mean that as an intern I can’t bring what little experience I do have to the table.
One question. One simple question challenged me to change my mindset; quit doubting and start doing because your team needs you. At one point or another at L&S, someone is going to need help to reach a deadline. My moment just happened to be the first week on the job, and I took full advantage. From the wise words of the Ad Campers of 2014, “This internship ain’t your run of the mill, snack time at 2:30, play leap frog with your friends kind of day camp.”
No, it certainly is not.