All college students have either heard stories about their friends’ internship or have had the fortune to experience their own. Although working for a company while still in school is a great learning experience, all interns encounter those embarrassingly awkward moments while on the job. Read on for the top 10 most awkward moments every intern experiences.
1. Did I really just say that?
Speaking in front of large groups at meetings, or in front of full-time staff who have advanced degrees in their field of work is intimidating. Chances are there will come a time for your awkward moment where you think to yourself, ‘did I really just say that!?’ Whether your idea didn’t make sense, you used a wrong word, or you couldn’t complete your thought, everyone has had a moment (or two!) like this.
2. Wearing the wrong outfit.
Perhaps one of the most stressful parts of interning is knowing what to wear every day. Working in an office is difficult – what does business casual even mean? If your internship involves studying outside of an office, such as performing laboratory studies or fieldwork, there are numerous ways to dress. And don’t forget about extracurricular/volunteer functions that all interns are expected to attend. Golf trips, baseball games, softball leagues, and miscellaneous volunteer work are just a few of the events interns spend hours preparing for by continually questioning their attire. Your best bet to avoid these awkward moments? Ask your boss ahead of time.
3. Getting hopelessly lost.
Whether you are driving to a meeting in the middle of no-where, trying to find a particular cubicle within a massive building, or the correct office mailbox out of hundreds, all interns will become lost at some point. Your options are either to stand there looking confused until someone walking by is willing and able to help, or to spend 30 minutes aimlessly pretending you know where you’re going until you find yourself in what you think is kind-of sort-of the area you want to be in.
4. You have absolutely nothing to do.
Interns are usually tasked with the menial, mindless work that no one else wants to complete. However, a day will come when you have finally finished all such work, and there is nothing left for you to do. As much as you want to, you can’t leave the office early. You can’t surf the web. Although it’s nice to just sit there, you actually want to seem proactive and self-motivated. So, you ask random employee after random employee if you can help them in any way. Awkward.
5. Events that you’re forced to go to.
As mentioned in Number 2, all interns will be expected to attend extracurricular and volunteer events outside of normal office hours. This will immediately take you back to your first day of sports practice, where you knew absolutely no one, and you had no skills to speak of. Oh, and all the other people on your “team” are the same age as your parents. Cue the awkward conversation and the long hours in the hot sun.
6. Emailing coworkers.
How should I start my email? What level of formality should be used? Did I use that word correctly? How do I sign it? Press send. Go back and read it and weep. Literally.
7. Delivering the wrong coffee or lunch order.
Added to the tedious tasks all interns have to complete is the daily coffee or lunch order from several people in the office. The availability of smart phones has made this task a bit easier. However, you will always run into that one employee who changes his order last-minute, or the restaurant that can never seem to make the food as it was requested. Explaining either of these difficulties to the disgruntled coworker who didn’t get what s/he ordered is impossible.
8) Trying not to pee your pants.
No matter where you intern, you will have to sit through seemingly endless meetings, conversations, or lab work. Somewhere between all of these, you will have to use the bathroom, urgently. And you won’t be able to. All successful interns know not to get up in the middle of a discussion and disrupt the flow of conversation. Therefore, those same interns have also mastered the ability to control their bladders. A tip: skip the morning coffee and you won’t have to skip out during the mid-morning meeting.
9. Being frenemies with the other interns.
Chances are, you won’t be the only intern in your building. Eventually, you will have to meet the other college students who are in the same boat as you, and are also vying for the pseudo-position of “best intern.” These are also the same people your boss expects you to be best friends with for the remainder of the semester or year. Friend or frenemy? You decide.
10) Falling, spilling, tripping, bumping into walls…
It’s happened to everyone, and it will happen to you. But that doesn’t make it any less awkward.
Have another awkward moment every intern experiences that wasn’t on this list? Share it in the comments below!
Kim Meneo is a student at Connecticut College studying English and environmental science. In her free time, she volunteers at a local equine rescue and produces freelance articles for several companies. During the summer, she can usually be found relaxing on the beach with a good book. Any questions, concerns, or general inquiries can be emailed to her at email@example.com