Intern Experience: Set Your Hair on Fire!

By Quendoline Jansen

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In this article I want to tell you about the experience of my internship and tell all the future interns what I would have wanted to know when I started my internship.

How I got here

Currently I’m in my final year of Communication and Multimedia Design at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. In the past couple of years I’ve developed a passion for User Experience Design and Interaction Design, and I wanted my last internship to be a great one. Then I saw an open vacancy at Edenspiekermann!

Well, I can’t make it more pretty than it already is — I wrote a nice motivation letter, told them I really loved Harry Potter (although I don’t think this piece of information made any difference), then I got invited to an interview with Boyd and Luke, and a few days later I got the call! It sounds really easy when you put it like this.

This is when I started to get really nervous. Maybe they would expect me to do extremely cool things, like a backflip? Or maybe they’d expect me to draw straight lines without a ruler! Well, I can tell you — they don’t. When the internship finally started, I realized that I’d been nervous for nothing, of course. The internship went great and I learned a lot. I worked with skilled people on great projects and was really sad when the internship was over. And the best thing was: I didn’t feel like an intern at all.

But if I could give my past self some tips before starting the internship 5 months ago, I’d like to tell myself these things:

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Although you might think school was the last place you could make mistakes, please make them during your internship too. As the famous psychologist Daniel Kahneman said: “How do you study memory? You don’t study memory, you study forgetting.” This is the same thing. You’ll learn the most from your flaws, so make mistakes and try everything. This is the time; do everything you’ve wanted to try. Try a new way of planning, try sketching with the opposite hand. Set your hair on fire, if you want.

You are here for a reason

You’re here because you can do something and you’re probably good at it. So, don’t doubt your skills and go do something amazing!

Keep yourself up-to-date

During my internship I took a lot of time to read stuff about everything, from psychology papers to user experience tests. Most of the things I read, I could almost immediately apply to the projects I was working on. So that’s my tip: stay relevant. Read a lot, listen to podcasts, and go to meetups if you can find the time for it (like this one which is very close to the Amsterdam office).

Share your opinions

Even though you might think nobody wants to hear what you’re thinking, say what’s on your mind. Let people know your thoughts, because they’re more valuable than you might think.

Be yourself

Yes, it’s really cheesy, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Make your stupid jokes, laugh about them, talk a lot about Harry Potter and cats, and wear weird sock combinations if you feel like it.

So, that’s what I wanted to say. Read, talk, listen, and especially: don’t actually set your hair on fire.

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