When you land an internship chances are you go into it wide-eyed and full of enthusiasm, ready to take on the world. The fact is that internships can sometimes be one word… boring.
At first, the new environment and all of the responsibility is exhilarating, but occasionally the novelty wears out. This is especially true for internships that involve large amounts of data entry or filing. Sometimes there simply might not be anything to do.
If you are constantly sitting idly, you are facing a more serious problem; you're there to learn and be an asset to the company, not to take up space or nap in your cubicle (although it can be tempting).
My suggestion for interns who feel useless is to take the initiative to talk to someone ASAP about your desire for more responsibility, whether it be an internship supervisor or your boss. Your boss might end up being impressed by your straightforwardness and apparent work ethic which means brownie points for you!
Interns who are constantly bored at work are at risk of becoming apathetic and unmotivated which will give the people you work with an extremely negative view of you; have the courage to speak up before your boredom becomes a liability.
Especially with companies who have never had an intern or employees who have never been responsible for one, you might feel a little useless at times because they do not know how to properly utilize you. They often don't have concrete rules and responsibilities prepared for new interns to follow which can be a challenge for everyone. Help them to establish a routine by asking plenty of questions about what the expectations of your position are, and how you can help the business.
Whatever the case, never let anyone know that you are bored out of your mind.
Here are some tips for avoiding bore-dumb:
Make something to do
If you find yourself at a loss for something to do, ask around to see if anyone else in the office has something they need help with. This should be the first step before moving on to anything else to pass the time, and is a great way to get to know your coworkers... not to mention it makes you look good.
Looking forward to lunch can be one of the most exciting times of the day (and not just because I love food). Use break times as something to look forward to and keep you motivated. Once you're on break get outside and get some fresh air; take a short walk and get your blood pumping. There is nothing more depressing than sitting at a desk under fluorescent lighting all day.
In college I made an oath to stay up-to-date on current events and I've never regretted it. Browsing news sites during your down-time can make you feel more knowledgeable and productive. There are types of news to meet everyone's interests, so reading the news shouldn't add to your boredom.
Browse the web
Be careful with this one... don't get in the habit of perusing Facebook and Twitter if no one else in the office does so. It's usually pretty apparent after a while what sites your coworkers frequent, so watch and learn before you browse. Better safe than sorry!
Cross off your to-do list
I'm a "list-person" so I always have my to-do list handy and ready to be checked off. I like to send emails and work on my schedule when I have down-time at work. I also use any spare time to brainstorm ideas for my student organizations, blogging, etc. Try to keep your mind active to avoid falling into a bored stupor.
Do school work
This is probably one of the most obvious ones. If you're in school while doing an internship, I think most employers would be okay with interns doing school work when they're not actually working. Just make sure the internship work comes first!