The Perfect Intern Doesn’t Exist

Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2018

In a city chock-full of young professionals starting out their careers it can be a bit overwhelming for the unsuspecting intern. You will meet people who have their entire lives planned out, down to the minute; you will meet people who, seemingly effortlessly, have job opportunities fall into their laps every other day. Do not compare yourself to others.  

It becomes very easy to look at the other interns in your apartment, office, or within your significant-radius and measure yourself against their achievements. Not only do you never know the whole contents of another's circumstance, it is simply unproductive. You have your own path, your own strengths, and your own personal idea of success.  

Starting out in late August, this being only my second internship, I was met with an intern cohort of people well above my age (and educational) group. Everyone else had completed their undergraduate schooling and most were well into their law degrees. I initially thought I could not compete, thought that the differences in our age and experience was too broad. Measuring myself against the other interns in my office significantly lowered my self-esteem, it made me feel like I was starting the race from behind. Rather than getting discouraged by the differences you see between yourself and others, look to find ways to use those differences to your advantage. Being the youngest intern, I was the most eager for work, of any kind. Performing tasks that no one else was particularly keen on doing separated me from the others, the more work I did, the more work I got – slowly, the tasks became more substantive in nature. Focus on what makes you different, not on what makes you insufficient. 

There are going to be times where you fail and the other interns will have to make up for what happens; there will be just as many times in which the opposite is true. No matter which school you come from or how many internships you have had, you will occasionally mess up. Some are simply better than others at concealing those mistakes. No intern is perfect – not even that twenty-six year old Harvard Law Student who made the Law Review - everyone brings different skills and perspectives to whichever tasks they work on. It may be hard, but you have to constantly remind yourself that you have direct your efforts on the things that you have the power to affect – your own performance and ability, not those of others.

Akhil Thadani
House Judiciary Committee (minority office)
Washington, D.C. | fall 2018