The University of Iowa

In the news: The Power of an Internship Journal

July 6th, 2021

University of Iowa student Brianna Bentler is a CEA MOJO Blogger and a Virtual Global Intern for an organization in Dublin, Ireland, during the Summer 2021 term. 

By Brianna Bentler, CEA Study Abroad

Growing up in a digital world, people often overlook the value of writing things down on paper. For several years, I have trained myself to keep a journal. I saw the progress I made as an individual by taking time to write in it every day. So, before I started my Dublin internship with CEA Study Abroad, I decided to keep an internship journal. Trust me, keeping an internship journal is a fantastic way to track your progress. Here’s some advice for successfully structuring an internship journal and some topics to brainstorm. 

Your Thoughts Are Never Wrong

When I started journaling, I thought everything I wrote had to be correct. My brain was constantly telling me to not write the wrong information. I can tell you that there is no such thing as incorrect journaling. Journaling is something that reflects your original thoughts at the particular time you are writing. Any information you write down is valid as long it benefits you. 

How Much Will You Write?

I like to take baby steps and write more information as time goes along. For instance, I wrote a paragraph for the first day, two paragraphs for the next day, a page for the next day; my goal for the next day was a page and a half.  Pick the amount of writing that’s attainable for your own pace.
 

Topics For Your Internship Journal
  • During Meetings 
    • I always write things down during meetings with co-workers. I know I can’t write everything down, but I pick out details that will benefit my learning. Writing while others are speaking helps keep me stay engaged and not lose focus. 
  • Finishing Tasks for the Day
    • I find it helpful to write about my tasks right after I complete my work for the day. It’s important to journal while your brain is still fresh. That way, you have time to reflect on the specific skills you picked up. 
  • How the Internship is Going
    • Expressing my thoughts about how my day went always makes me feel better. Some of the questions I ask myself are: Am I having fun? What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • Understanding the Culture 
    • Since the company where I am interning in is in another country, I often write about how the culture is similar to and different from American culture. In a virtual internship, this is a little more difficult to do, so when I am able, I like asking my co-workers questions about Irish culture. 
  • Personal Goals 
    • When addressing his topic, I list my strengths and weaknesses. Then I use this list to help me write down goals that I want to achieve that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific. Measurable, Attainable/Achievable. Time-Bound). Doing this helps me keep track of my goals more efficiently. 

Whether you are choosing an in-person or virtual internship, I highly recommend keeping an internship journal. It’s a valuable experience that will help you grow and learn about yourself.

University of Iowa student Brianna Bentler is a CEA MOJO Blogger and a Virtual Global Intern for an organization in Dublin, Ireland, during the Summer 2021 term. 

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