Week Ten: Ending an Era

After ten wonderful weeks working at the Library of Congress, I have finally made my way back home.  With some time to reflect, I realized that the part of interning I was least prepared for was the very end.  Finishing up an internship requires some planning and preparation, which you often do not hear much about.  Here are some tips from my own experiences:

Do not leave anything unfinished

Whether you are creating flyers for an upcoming event, organizing filing cabinets, or digitizing electronic data (as I was), do not leave an uncompleted project behind.  Doing so inconveniences the next person to take on the task, and can leave a poor last impression.  Instead, organize you time in your final week to ensure that you are not leaving behind a half-empty box of papers or partly finished pamphlet.

Finish all of your required paperwork

The last week of an internship is “crunch time” when it comes to paperwork.  Reports, separation forms, and other official documents should be completed in full and on time, so that permanent employees do not have to track you down at your forwarding address down the line.

Leave forwarding information

Leaving an organization does not mean severing ties completely.  Future employees may need to contact you for official reasons, and supervisors will often want to remain in contact.  Providing a forwarding email address that you regularly check will help cultivate professional connections and ensure that you can effectively communicate with former coworkers.

Ask supervisors for future references

It is an unwritten assumption that students can call upon former internship supervisors for letters of recommendation for future positions.  However, it is a professional courtesy to ask supervisors before leaving whether or not you can refer to them in the future.  Recommendations make the world go round, and everyone understands this; just don’t expect one (or at least a good one) without first asking for it.

My summer has been a great time for professional exploration and personal growth, and I truly relished my time as a Junior Fellow at the Library of Congress.  I cannot wait to see what my future holds, but I know that my time with the Veterans History Project will serve as a guide for my development!

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