THE BLOG
07/20/2010 02:54 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

When Your "Dream Internship" Turns Out Not to Be: How to Survive a Frustrating Internship

You may have begun the summer feeling like you scored your dream internship -- an internship in the industry you one day hope to take over, at the company you've always idolized. But a month or so in, and things are not quite what they seem. It turns out "editorial intern" is code for "photocopying intern," or you're spending more time tapping into your extensive knowledge of the Starbucks drink menu than your extensive knowledge of the fashion industry. Or maybe your internship rocks, but you're in way over your head.

But no matter the problem, fear not -- there are still ways for you to make the most out of any kind of "challenging" summer internship.

Here are a couple tricky internship situations, and advice on how to deal from Suzanne Dragger, Assistant Director of Hofstra University Career Center (read the full article from HerCampus.com here!):

Her Campus: You're an aspiring writer but your internship limits your tasks to photocopying, sending emails, and doing petty data entry. How do you remain enthusiastic?

Suzanne Dragger: Show some initiative! Sometimes employers aren't prepared with a long list of things for you to do so it's easier to give you basic duties. Go to your supervisor and let them know that you would love to get involved with "X." When it comes to bosses who are control freaks, they feel like they don't have enough time to train you. So spend the time to create something you can contribute and offer to help out; your work won't go unnoticed! If you are deciding whether or not to take an internship, you need to weigh your options. It isn't always worth giving up hands-on experience to work for a big-name company.

HC: You make a big mistake on one of your projects and end up inconveniencing your supervisor. How can you make it up to her?

SD: First, you must 100% own up to your mistake. Honesty is best here, so own it and don't hide it. This is how you learn so don't be defensive. Next, apologize and offer to fix it. You can offer to stay late or come in early to fix the problem. Just make sure you say something right away. Remember, you're human and mistakes happen!

HC: Your supervisor asks you to do something and you have no idea how to do it. What should you do?

SD: This depends on your personality. If you tend to be insecure, you may need to take some time to relax and sit with your situation. Ask yourself, "Can I actually do this?" If you can't get it done, be honest. Tell your supervisor: "Listen, I'm having some concerns with this project and this is why." Tell them what you need to make it happen, not just "I can't do this." Don't inconvenience your boss any more than you need to.

For more sticky intern situations and how to deal, check out the rest of the article on HerCampus.com - a collegiette's guide to life!