new grounds: how interns have evolved from coffee makers to changemakers


Being the newbie definitely has its struggles. Proving yourself while exploring your interests, building your skills, and trying to gain as much experience as possible can be extremely overwhelming. To soak in all an internship has to offer, you must be open-minded and up for a challenge. That said, time as an intern, like this blog post, is short. So let’s get rolling…

Hit the Ground Running

Time is precious. Especially as an intern, where you’re often counting in hours not weeks. Take every chance you are given to join meetings, visit clients, try new programs, and yes, fail (after all, this is how we learn). If you don’t feel you are getting adequate opportunities, voice your interests early to your manager to get involved in new tasks. Save the coffee making for the Keurig.

Composure Gets Exposure

Many interns struggle with confidence, and understandably so. The people are new, the work is new, and the tools are new. If you searched the office for a hot wooden box the first time your manager told you to put something in “A Sauna,” don’t sweat it. (Although a sauna in an office would be perfect for a mid-day relaxation, using a project management software called Asana daily will do for now.)

Making mistakes is a part of the learning process, and we all make them at some point. Be prepared for meetings, ask questions when you don’t understand tasks, and seek the advice of your colleagues and managers often. Confidence is what spins the flywheel of opportunity — the more [confidence] you have, the more [opportunities] you’ll get.


One of the most valuable lessons you will take away from your internships is that life in the real world is a lot different than campus life. Deadlines are no longer arbitrary dates drawn into a syllabus by a professor. Google is a credible place to start a search. And learning all about your clients is your new homework assignment (that never truly ends). It can seem daunting at first, but learn to embrace it. While it’s OK to still have a few cases of the Sunday Scaries, by preparing now you will thank yourself down the road as you make the transition from campus to the cubicle (or amazing open office concept like we have here at The Cause Collab).

There are many reasons to consider interning pre-graduation. Always have the mindset of doing better. Internships are learning experiences — they are part of the journey of figuring out what you absolutely love, what you absolutely hate, how you work, and what you find interesting, all while making lifelong connections. Landing an internship can shape your future career path and will form lasting skills, memories, and friendships. Many lessons will be learned — some more fun than others — but it comes down to being a part of something bigger than yourself, which can only be done if you commit all of yourself.

If you are reading this and looking for an internship, hit us up! The Cause Collab is always looking to meet the next generation of leaders.