If you’re about to embark on a work experience adventure, don’t worry, it probably won’t be as scary as A Devil Wears Prada or as shenanigan-filled as The Internship. When it comes to work experience, the positives often outweigh the negatives. We are here to guide you through the potential ups and downs of your placement.

The lows 

Let’s start with the downfalls. The sooner you know the negatives, the sooner you can try to bring out the positives.

• Menial jobs

Everyone knows there’s a certain amount of tea making involved in interning: the trick is to make a list of everyone’s preferences and get on with it. You might also have to deliver messages, document and Sharpies even, from one colleague to another. Lots of printing and copywriting should be expected too.
Think of it as character building and console yourself with the knowledge, that many a mighty CEO began as an intern. 

• The money

It’s been estimated that a month of work experience in London city centre can cost up to £926. Just think of the things you could buy instead of work: a holiday, a second-hand car, two pedigree dogs even!

• The commute

Regardless of the form of transport, commuting can be frustrating. If you travel in the car, you have traffic to contend with, if you travel on the train, tube, or even the bus, there’s delays and cancellations. Not to mention everything else.

However, making sure you’ve got a great playlist and a good book (an audiobook if you’re driving) this will go a long way towards improving your journey.

Three people working together

The highs

Now for the good bits, of which there are many. Here are just three of the best things about taking on an internship.

• Real world experience

At school and university, you’re taught the theory behind an action or event; the emphasis is mostly on learning and remembering rather than ‘doing’.

Your work experience will be much more practical: you’ll be running errands, making phone calls, and most importantly, participating in the daily running of a company. At the very least you can sing Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 without feeling like a fraud.

• Skills to pay the bills

It’s likely you’re a savvy social media user; if you use more than five sites well, you’re probably a pro. Yet your skills might be lacking in other areas and this is where an internship comes in; you’ll often be taught how to use systems, software and programmes that you might not have even heard of! They can be fun to learn and they look great on your CV (and are actually really useful).

• Confidence boost

Work experience placements require you to be independent. You’ll be expected to think for yourself and act on your own initiative. Whether your boss asks you to pick up a parcel or present to a client, do it well and it’ll be worth it for the sense of achievement afterwards. Not only will you feel proud of yourself, but you’ll be ready for what the world has to throw at you next.

These highs and lows are only a fraction of what you’ll experience during your internship. There’ll be plenty of happy mediums, new discoveries, and who knows, you might even eventually have a cup of tea made for you.

Lilli Hender (21) is a recent graduate from the University of York and works in PR & Marketing for Office Genie.

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