So you got the internship you had your sights on! Congratulations, it's a great accomplishment and you can breath a sigh of relieve that you have your summer sorted. But there are some things you can do to prepare yourself between now and your start date, to make sure you get the most of your internship.
You most likely can attribute your success in landing the job, to the preparation you did for you interview. In the same way, preparing for you start date means you can be more successful in your role including making a smooth adjustment, working more effectively and impressing the socks off your new colleagues!
Do your research
Before you start, use your time to find out as much as possible about the company or organisation. You will have most likely found information on their website to prepare for your interview, but don't be complacent. Look for more information now that you have a better idea of the position and what you might be doing in your new role. Scour the internet for information on the work your team is doing, look for external sources on the work you will do including what your competitors are doing, and look at the previous work of individuals who are in your new team. If they have published, then read up on their research. The more you know, the easier it will be to slide into your new role.
Prepare questions to ask your colleagues
Think about what your new role might entail and prepare some questions to ask on your first few days. Follow your curiosity and jot down questions that come to mind. By doing this, you will show to your colleagues that you are eager and have given thought to your new role. Being prepared with the right questions will have you off the ground and running sooner.
From my own experience working with interns, I always found that those who were thinking ahead, had read up as much as possible about the job and were proactive; were also given the most responsibility and achieved more.
Have realistic expectations
While its hard not to start to imagine yourself doing great things in your new role such as taking leadership of a new project or publishing research in a top notch academic journal, try to not let your imagination run away. You want to avoid setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Be realistic about what you can expect to accomplish during you internship. Expect that you might find it more challenging to work with some colleagues, compared to others. Be prepared for a bit of disorganization, especially if you are working with a smaller less-resourced company. And be open to doing adhoc tasks as they arise.
Meet up with your supervisor
If you can, meet up with your supervisor before starting. This will greatly reduce the nerves prior to commencing and will provide an opportunity for you to pick your supervisor's brain. It will also allow for your supervisor to get to know you better, including your interests, aspirations and skills.
Do a trial commute to your new office
Last but not least, do a trial run to work. You want to make sure you know how long it takes to get to work every day so that you avoid arriving to the office late on your first day!