How to have a successful Practicum or Internship experience.
Remember that you are enrolled in the practicum or internship class for two main reasons - to learn and to build a foundation for your professional future. Your success can be measured by how well you:
1. Apply what you have learned in class. Look for ways to use the theories studied and skills developed through your classroom work. Be prepared to adjust according to your situation.
2. Prime the pump. Don’t wait to be taught. Apply all the knowledge you have gained and then seek additional insights from your co-workers and supervisor. The more you put into the experience, the more you will get from it.
3. Learn from mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable and are part of the learning experience (if you let them be). Don’t be careless, but do acknowledge errors and treat them as valuable learning experiences as you analyze what went wrong and consider ways to avoid repeating the mistake and work to correct it.
4. Exercise humility. Remember that you are in the practicum or internship setting to learn and to serve. Remain teachable and respect the experience-based insights of others.
5. Celebrate your successes. Record and share your accomplishments, recognizing that you most likely had somebody else helping you to achieve your success. The best way to celebrate success is to thank all who made it possible.
6. Adopt standards of professionalism. In every respect, look and act like a professional. Dress appropriately, be punctual, de dependable, be honest, use good language, and respect the lines of authority. Your written work should be well planned, accurate and neatly presented.
7. Go the Mason Mile. The Mason Mile is twice as long – go the distance! Look for ways to magnify your assignment and to exceed expectations. Remember that ‘good enough’ is never really good enough.
8. Communicate. Keep your agency supervisor and the faculty practicum or internship supervisor informed of your progress and problems. Use the formal reporting systems, but also take the opportunity to share your successes, insights, and challenges with your two other partners in this experience – your supervisor and your professor.