Being an intern can be an exciting first step on your road to career success. Of course you hope to gain valuable experience and exposure to help lay the foundation for a long and flourishing career, but often interns find themselves wondering how they can make their internship as successful as possible. Whether you've worked in a professional role before or not, internships are unique and have their own standards to follow.
If you're about to embark on your own internship, do yourself a favor and take a lesson from Game of Thrones' least likely White Walker slayer: Samwell Tarly.
WARNING: This post is dark and full of spoilers. Proceed with caution if you haven't seen the Game of Thrones Season 7 episode, "Stormborn."
The Top Traits of Successful Interns
(As Demonstrated by Samwell Tarly)
This season has found Sam down in Oldtown, studying at the Citadel to become a maester--with the ulterior motive of learning how to defeat the White Walkers, of course. As a maester-in-training, Sam is essentially an intern under the Citadel's older and higher-ranked maesters and archmaesters. Ultimately, Sam begins to succeed in the Westerosi version of a summer internship by displaying several key traits that every intern should embrace--whether they're trying to save the world from the Long Winter or just secure a permanent job in their field.
Top interns have these three things in common with Sam:
1. They're Pro-Active
Showing your boss that you can take initiative by anticipating their needs and producing results without needing to be reminded is one of the best ways to leave a great impression. Of course, Sam went one step further in his own "internship" by unearthing an ancient technique to cure grayscale and proving that this supposedly incurable disease could actually be treated.
(Note that you'll likely not need to perform secret surgery in order to demonstrate initiative in your own internship!)
2. They're Hard-Working
Talented or not, no one will take you seriously--or want to extend you a permanent offer--if you don't work hard. This doesn't mean giving your all just when the task suits you; even if your duties aren't interesting or glamorous, devoting your best efforts to completing them is the surest way to move up.
Model yourself after Sam and throw yourself into demonstrating your dedication with every task, even if they're menial and tedious--and take comfort in the fact that your assignments likely won't include scrubbing chamber pots, laboriously recopying insect-ravaged scrolls or attending to the plague-infected.
3. They're Observant
Many of an internship's most valuable lessons won't be directly told to you; instead, you must learn this critical information about expectations and cultural etiquette by being observant of the employees around you. You never know when being watchful can reveal something extremely useful, as it did for Sam when he uncovered long-hidden information about a store of dragonglass.
Okay, you probably won't find a way to save the land from impending doom by paying attention in your workplace, but you might find out how your boss likes his spreadsheets formatted--which is just as valuable to your career as dragonglass is to Westeros.
Are You Like Sam?
Then we want YOU!
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