I wouldn’t say I’ve made a big error in my internship (so far…knock on wood). Nothing has fallen through, no client has gotten angry, nothing missed a deadline because I messed up. Those aren’t the kind of mistakes I typically make. What I do tend to do is get in over my head because I never want someone to think I can’t handle something.
I alluded to this occasion briefly in a previous blog post, but I’ll elaborate here. The summer interns have two projects that we’re working on over the course of the summer that we’ll present to the agency at the end. The other interns are in public relations and social media. As the account management intern, it’s my role to take point and well, manage the ordeal. As I looked at all the deadlines and moving parts I had to take care of, I felt like my world was swirling. As someone with anxiety, I’m used to the feeling of a panic attack coming on, and I felt it that day.
Instead of curling up in a ball under my desk and taking a nap-which is what I really wanted to do-I got myself together. I went into the bathroom to collect myself, splash some water on my face, and step away from my desk. Then, I went into my boss’ office and asked for help. I knew this level of managing tasks is practically child’s play for her, so I knew she would have suggestions for me to how to get ahold of it all. She helped me go through my schedule, break all the tasks up into different buckets, and make sure I wasn’t trying to take it all on myself when I had 4 other interns working with me. In the past, I would be worried that she’d think less of me because I needed to ask for help, or because I couldn’t get it all correct at first glance. But I’ve come to figure out that that’s not true. I think she even perhaps thinks more of me now, because, rather than letting it get to a point where I couldn’t handle it, I was able to recognize where my limit was and get advice from someone who is used to doing this. If I had continued to let things spiral out of control, maybe things would have fallen through the cracks and the projects wouldn’t have gotten done. But instead, I sent out roughly a million calendar invites that day to schedule meetings and set up deadlines for all the aspects of the project so that everyone was accountable, not just me. Things are moving swimmingly and I feel confident that this obstacle, and the way I handled it, was a huge step towards adulthood for me.