When starting your internship with the Digital Media Engagement (DME) team, things can be overwhelming initially. You now have a lot of work to do with a set number of hours to reach each week. For some students, that can mean slipping into unhealthy work habits. Here are some of the habits I’ve noted that DME interns would want to avoid when they first start with the team.
- Failing to Turn in Reports
Each week, all team members must turn in a report containing their work metrics and hours. You can always turn in a report early or late, but not turning one in at all is bad. If you miss three reports in a row, you risk being removed from the internship!
- Not Using Slack
Slack is the main communication network for the DME. It’s where you can message your department leadership or fellow interns, learn about job opportunities, get updates on important projects, etc. If you rarely use Slack, you’re missing out on a lot, and it’s something we note in intern evaluations.
In the past, we’ve had interns who go way over the 10-hour requirement. We do not encourage this, as it can lead to burnout, stress and take away time from intern life outside the internship. Overworking one week also doesn’t compensate for a lack of work in another. Stick to 10 hours each week and don’t forget to take breaks!
- Not Reading Team Emails or Other Important Items
Like Slack, this is another way we gauge intern participation. Many departments send out weekly team emails to update interns on happenings, remind them of items, etc. By not reading and responding when prompted to these emails, department leadership is not aware if you’re in the loop about important matters!
- Overfocusing on One Aspect of Work
We’ve had an intern previously who spent much of his time voting on the VA Reddit page. While that’s good for social media, he was a writing intern and did not write many projects with us due to this overfocus. Make sure you’re doing the work you were accepted to do, not just the little things that make up 10 hours each week!
- Lack of Communication with Leadership
A major issue we deal with each year is interns who do not keep us updated on their situations. As students, we understand life can get stressful, and we want to accommodate you as much as we can. However, if you don’t keep us updated on situations, it can be hard. If you need to step away from work for whatever legitimate reason (exams, family emergencies, medical issues, etc.), don’t forget to let your department leaders know, too!
- Not Checking Trello or Leaving Work Undone for Long Periods of Time
If your department uses Trello, keeping up with your cards is a major part of DME work. Therefore, things can derail if you don’t check in on Trello a few times a day or let work sit for long periods of time. In the writing department’s case, we’re expected to have a card ready for VAntage Point daily, so we want to avoid losing time on stagnant cards. If you are dealing with a situation that prevents work, let leadership know or leave a comment on the card to keep work moving! You can also always ask leadership if someone else can take over, too.
The DME internship is meant to be a fun experience, and we want our interns to start on the right foot. By avoiding these issues and being a responsible intern, you’re ensuring you will have a positive experience with us.
Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Editors: Alexander Reza, Annabelle Colton
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley