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What to Pack For an Internship

Packing Don'ts For a Long-Term Internship

Long-term internships that are far from home can be stressful. Part job, part volunteer position, part audition — the average internship is no breeze. The stress of being in a new place for a few months also doesn’t calm any nerves. However, knowing what to pack and what to leave at home can help you be prepared. So lighten your luggage and take the stress out of your start date by leaving these things behind.

  • Negativity. As cheesy as it sounds, your attitude dictates your experience. “The Intern” isn’t necessarily the easiest place to start, but it doesn’t have to be the hardest. If you focus on what you want to get out of the internship and keep a positive outlook, your experience will be everything you hoped. 
  • Clothes you never wear. We’re all sometimes guilty of the “I know I’ll wear it sometime” complex, but, trust me, a new internship is not the ideal testing ground for that quirky, possibly too-short dress you got because it was on sale. The most important aspect of starting in a new place is being comfortable and confident, so make some extra room in your suitcase and leave the not-quite-favorite options at home. Plus, you can always experiment with new style pieces once you’re settled. And with all that extra room, you can bring them back!
  • New beauty products. Along the same lines, you really don’t want to find out on your first day of work that the superhyped miracle moisturizer you just bought makes you break out in hives. Stick with what you know until you’re comfortable in your new work environment, or at least comfortable enough to let your co-workers see the effects, whether it be good or bad.
  • Wrinkly clothes. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you iron your clothes before packing them, they’ll hold up better during the journey. You may have to brush out a few creases, but it won’t be anything a little Downy Wrinkle Releaser can’t handle. 

Read on for more.

  • Weather-inappropriate clothing. Since you’re obviously a smart cookie, of course you’ve done your research about the local climate of your prejob destination. Skip any articles you know you won’t need for that time period and only pack what’s logical. There may be surprises, but requesting a care package from your roommate or parents is better than being stuck with your nine pairs of shorts taking up vital dresser room in San Francisco in June. 
  • Every pair of shoes you own. Yes, you want to look fabulous every day of your internship, and that’s totally fine. What’s not fine is filling up an entire suitcase with shoes, which you then have to roll around or carry up flights of stairs. Plan ahead and bring what you can handle and will actually wear. 
  • Old photographs, your grandmother’s pearl studs, various valuable nostalgia. Let’s face it, starting in a brand-new place and being there for several months is more than a teensy bit stressful, and you’re probably going to feel a little bit homesick. Having a little piece of home is great, especially when you’re far away for the Summer. Having those little pieces lost or stolen is not so great. Unless you’re incredibly organized, it’s too easy to misplace little treasures while moving and unpacking, so leave the valuables and priceless keepsakes safe at home (but bring the teddy bear if you must). 
  • Laziness. With all the controversy about unpaid internships, working for pure experience may become a thing of the past. However, even if you are getting paid, it may not be any more than minimum wage, which probably isn't the ideal situation. Keep in mind, though, why you took the internship. Most of the time, internships aren’t the best way to get rich. They’re entry-level positions in which you can learn more about your future company or industry. You’re getting work experience, and even if your internship isn’t something you want to do in the future, you’re getting life experience. Embrace the situation and work your hardest to impress your co-workers and boss. They can still write a killer job recommendation, even if they’re not in your precise future field. Plus, you’ll just be happier. 

Leave all of this stuff behind, but don’t forget to bring your patience, enthusiasm, smile, and A-game (which conveniently all fit in your carry-on).

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