There is No “Day In The Life” of a Startup Intern

 

Blog post by ELP student Margeaux Fortin (Economics | Class of 2022) Interning at Mighty.com

A day in the life of a startup intern does not exist. What do I mean by that? I mean that every day at a startup is different, so there is no way to outline what a day in my life is like. I can explain to you what I did today. Or, what I did yesterday. Or, I could even come up with some summary or average of all of the days I have spent in my internship. But none of that is really what it is like to live a day as a startup intern.

Zoom out and it’s easy to summarize what a day in this role looks like. Broadly a day as a startup intern can be summarized, by buzzwords. From my month or so working at a startup, I am now an expert and can verify that the buzzwords that draw people to startups are true. Working at a startup is exciting, fast-paced, unique, and ever-changing. Your job in a startup is highly flexible, malleable to your desires and strengths, dependent on your own drive, and highly educational. A day in the life of a startup intern is exactly what you make it.

But those are just buzzwords, that may be exciting and intriguing for people interested in startups, but they are not tangible or realistic at times. So, let me dive even deeper.

A Bit About Me

To start, some background on me, so you can understand my perspectives going into this internship. My name is Margeaux. I am a middle child from a small suburb of Boston. I grew up watching both of my parents navigate and succeed as entrepreneurs outside of corporate America and working from home, fueling my interest in pursuing a parallel life for myself. I just finished my first year at the University of Michigan, where I was involved in multiple business and entrepreneurship clubs, a social sorority, and where I am pursuing an Economics major with multiple possible minors. Some buzzwords about me: hardworking, determined, passionate, compassionate, outgoing, and ambitious.

When I heard about the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program, I knew that it was an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurial students and professionals. I applied, interviewed, and networked my way into this incredible program where I have grown far more than I could have imagined. ELP has introduced me to many of my incredible peers, two of which I am interning with, and helped me recruit and apply for internships at startups this summer.

When I was interviewing, accepting an offer, and even arriving on my first day, I had no idea what to expect out of my internship. The answers to my questions about what I would be doing were all vague, confusing and frustrating. But I see now, that the answers had to be vague. They were trying to answer what the day in the life of a startup intern was, as I am now, and they couldn’t. All they could tell me was that I would not be getting coffee and that I would be busy. Both of which are definitely true.

Day in the Life of This Start-Up Intern

Ironically, I really do like structure and plans. So upon arriving in New York, I was sure to establish such into my daily life outside of work. So a day in the life of this startup intern goes something like this:

  • 6:30 – wake up (after three alarms and get dressed quietly to not wake up the two roommates)
  • 7 – arrive at the gym and workout
  • 8:05 – arrive back at home and sneak around apartment showering and getting dressed as quietly as possible
  • 8:30 – grab breakfast and leave the apartment, listening to an entrepreneurial themed podcast while walking/on the subway to work
  • 9 – arrive at the office, check email, order lunch, settle in
  • 9:30 to 5 (or 6 or 7) – work
  • 5 or 6 or 7 – leave work and try to see friends or enjoy the city in some way (go to a restaurant, comedy club, concert in the park, store, or club)
  • Late at night – arrive home, make breakfast for the next day (overnight oats) then sneak around apartment quietly getting ready for bed

And that’s exactly what I mean by saying that the day in the life of a startup intern is both impossible to describe and hectic. I create a structure for my mornings because everything after 8:30 a.m. changes daily. And I guess that is the life of a startup intern.

Every day I walk into the office not knowing what a day in my life will be. The company I work at is growing, shifting and changing quickly. So, my responsibilities as a general business intern are doing the same. To learn and provide value to the company I try to say yes to as many projects as possible, while also completing all of them as quickly and organized and possible.

With this mentality I have – worked on a patent project, launched and run their social media presence, helped launch and maintain a rewards program, and have recruited for multiple roles. In a more general sense, at this internship – I have met lots of incredible people, eaten some great lunches, learned the value of my opinion and input (even as an intern), and seen how greatly every individual can impact a startup.

I have learned more than I ever could in school or in a corporate internship because the company needs me to learn and to fit into countless roles. So for me, a day as an intern at a startup includes a lot of hard work, thinking on the spot, readjusting and changing plans quickly, taking notes and providing input on company changing meetings, and trying to learn and absorb as much as possible. Every day at my internship is incredibly educational, exciting, exhausting, terrifying, thrilling, and draining. Every day as an intern at a startup I change. Every day my internship molds me into someone better able to thrive in the “real world,” in a startup, in class, and in any challenging situation I may find myself in later in life.

A day in the life of a startup intern is impossible to outline or to define. A day in the life of a startup intern can be broadly defined by buzzwords. But, a day in the life of a startup intern can’t really be explained or captured with any words. Every day for me, as an intern at a startup, is transformational (but again that is just a word).

I couldn’t be more grateful for how unable I am to define what a day in my life as an intern looks like, because that means that every day is unique, exciting and constantly evolving.

Can you define what a day is like in your internship? Is that a good thing?