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4 Things You Need to Do If You’re Interning Under 21

This is one in a series of posts, “The Intern Diaries” from Ed’s anonymous summer intern blogger. 

Congratulations! You landed the internship of your dreams before you can even have a cocktail to celebrate. While this is definitely something to be proud of, there are a few challenges that come with being an underage intern. And, unfortunately, this might mean you’re going to have to work extra hard to make sure you’re respected.

Trust me, I’m 18. Here’s what I learned during my first internship while under the legal age.

Let It Be
Your young age does not have to be a “thing.” While you should never, ever, lie about your age during your internship (the truth will come out, and then the situation will be a lot worse). If age doesn’t come up, don’t bring it up. No need to brag to the CEO that you’re the youngest one in your office. She may have assumed that you were 22 based on your maturity and poise, or—more likely—she just doesn’t care.

Make Some Moves
You’ll hear that the best networking happens over drinks after work, but you can create your own casual environment out of the workplace to get to know your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to invite your boss or coworkers to coffee or lunch. No booze necessary.

Find Your Squad
Make friends with your fellow underage interns. In a few years, these will be the people you’ll be grabbing drinks with after work. And when you find a crew of people that aren’t going out after work and on weekends, you won’t feel so alone.

Mess Up
Being a young intern can be tough, but it’s also the best. Now is one of the last times in your life when you can mess up—badly—without terrible consequences for your career. So take advantage of that. Plus, hopefully, you’ll have another summer or two of interning to polish up your skills before the job hunt begins.

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