1

I have been in this internship program for about a little less than a week. I was hoping to gain some real-life experience in an environment with other programmers (I am a computer science intern).

So far though, I have just been making updates on a WordPress website and doing graphic design.

Even though I did ask during the interview: "What were the responsibilities of the other interns" this wasn't what I was expecting. My mentor seems almost clueless, whenever I ask him a question he usually redirects me to another person.

They haven't told me how to clock-in and clock-out on the day I started, even if I asked (I realized another intern was doing it). So yeah. I just feel like I am in a mess. I was also offered a Computer Science tutoring job prior to this, which I turned down, and now I'm regretting this internship because I'm not getting the experience I need.

Any advice?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Twyxz, Michael Grubey, TomTom, Philip Kendall Sep 20 '18 at 10:46

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else. Instead of asking which decision to make, try asking how to make the decision, or for more specific details about one element of the decision. (More information)" – gnat, Twyxz, Michael Grubey, TomTom, Philip Kendall
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

13

I have some advice. Although I suspect you might not like it. And I mean this in the nicest way: please don't complain and just do what they ask you to do. Every student who makes it through a university environment and its challenges automatically assumes they now know everything. For real life businesses you probably know (depending on how good your uni is) anywhere between %.05 and %5. Internship is where you observe and learn. They aren't going to give you their most mission critical jobs from day one and most companies unfortunately are disorganised when it comes to internships. Its just how it is. Your mentor probably isn't "clueless" but he's more likely "busy". Do what they ask and then offer to do some more. You aren't expected to be overly productive, it's an opportunity to learn.

Trust me, this internship will look better on your resume than tutoring.

  • 2
    +1 particualrly for the last one. It is amazhing for me how many young people (ok, this being poland) totally do not care what goes on their resume - while building a good resume is how you get good jobs later. – TomTom Sep 20 '18 at 6:41
2

I understand how much it can be disheartening in the first weeks, but hold on. For now, you have to go forward and grit your teeth if necessary.

Your objectives should be:

  1. go through an intership, building relationships that will look good on your CV;
  2. Actually learning skills and advancing your education in the field.

Some advice on the problems you mentioned:

I have just been making updates on a WordPress website and doing graphic design.

Did you agree on an "area of interest" for the internship, or they are free to let you work on anything? In any case, you're free to ask - politely - for more work or work in a different field. E.g., if the company as some interesting IT project, you may ask to have a look at it.

Remember, though, that they probably gave you simple tasks since they don't know - yet - if they can "trust" you with anything more. Also - sadly - interns are often seen as "cheap, easy, low-level workforce" so they could be trying to give you the menial tasks nobody wants to take care of.

My mentor seems almost clueless, whenever I ask him a question he usually redirects me to another person

This is not bad, per se. Are the people he redirects you too knowledgeable? Are they willing to teach you (or at least answer some basic question once in a while)? I'm not saying they should spoon-feed you. The point is: if you can learn from them, you should.

They haven't told me how to clock-in and clock-out on the day I started, even if I asked (I realized another intern was doing it).

Ask again. I didn't understand everything on my first day of internship, quite the contrary - I looked at what others were doing with eyes wide open. But there's no shame in going to your mentor and saying "hey, I'm not sure I understood the whole clock-in thing. I've seen that intern Bob is doing it, should I do too?"

At the end of the day you are there to learn how the company works, so don't be afraid of asking even the silliest question.

To sum up:

Let some time pass, see if things go better, and in the meantime shift your focus on how you can solve the problems above.

If after, let's say, a month, nothing improves and you still see no value in keeping with the internship, it's safe to start thinking about other options (like complaining with your mention, resigning, etc.). Internships should be very formative occasions, but sadly this is rarely the case.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.