09/04/2013 10:08 am ET Updated Nov 04, 2013

5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Summer Internship


There are two ways to spend your summer vacation: a fun way and a helpful way. Most people spend the summer doing close to nothing, relaxing the entire day. I, on the other hand, spent my break working 8-hour days at a medical research company. Although I did envy my friends who got to spend their summer by the pool, I was able to learn some very important life lessons.

1. Be punctual

Whether it is finishing an assignment for the deadline or just meeting a friend or coworker for a meal, punctuality is key. People will respect someone who can keep track of time and progress. It is an essential trait to have, because it will improve both an individual's social life and their career path.

2. Treat everyone with respect

No matter to whom you are talking to, be respectful. One never can be sure who they will need for help some day so be nice to everyone. One day, it could pay off. It would be a shame if the one person who could help you was someone you disrespected and were mean to.

3. Do not be afraid to make mistakes and ask questions

Everyone makes mistakes and has to ask questions. That is what makes people human. The most important part is to make sure you do not have to do it again. If you mess up, or don't know what to do, accept you made a mistake and learn from it. The smartest people are not the ones who make the least amount of errors, but they are the ones who learn the most from them.

4. Finish one project before starting another

At my internship, I worked for two separate groups. Each group would give me an assignment of work that needed to be done. One time I started one and then switched over to the other project. Needless to say, both were not with the best quality that they should have been done with and neither were finished in time. After that, I learned to always work on one project at a time, and only start something new once I finished. That applies to all areas of life, not just work. One should finish what they are working on before starting something new.

5. Work hard no matter what you're doing

No matter what aspect of your life you are doing, always work hard in it. Even if it something small and unimportant still work hard. It will help build good work ethic and improve the activity you're doing. People will notice the effort that you always put in and you will be cast in a good light.

No, I did not have the craziest summer, but I learned these five lessons, so it was a valuable summer. Following these rules could one day lead me to a successful life, as anyone else who chooses to follow them also. I'm glad that I was able to have the opportunity to work long days during my vacation.