Internship Insights: Learning from Friends and Classmates

Finding an internship can be tricky–and the Center for Career Development is here to help. But did you know your classmates and peers are here to help you, too?

Each semester the Center for Career Development runs an event, Internship Insights, where students who have completed internships sit on a panel and answer questions from their peers. These questions can range from “How did you get your internship?” to “How did you balance class work and your internship?” 

However, Internship Insights isn’t the only place to ask questions about internships to friends and classmates–and if you’re looking for what you can and cannot ask–I’ve got you covered. 


  • Quickly introduce yourself, what is your name, what are you studying, what are your career goals.
  • Make sure your questions are targeted toward the correct audience. If you’re looking for general advice on internships, ask any classmate you know who has completed one. Make sure your questions are unique to the person you are asking; people like to be acknowledged for their achievements.
    • If you want advice on a particular industry or a specific company, find someone who has worked in that field or office. 
  • Be proactive. Finding an internship and developing a solid network takes time, so it’s important to start early. 
  • Keep it casual. Remember, you’re speaking with a friend or perhaps a friend of a friend. Treat the conversation just as you would with anyone else. Keep your language clean and professional, but don’t worry about not knowing everything–that’s why you’re asking questions in the first place.
  • Keep in touch. Say thank you at the end of your conversation, then be sure to send a thank you note (or email) to everyone you’ve spoken with. It’s essential to acknowledge those who have helped you, even if you don’t end up where you thought you would. 


  • Do not ask directly for a job. On top of being uncomfortable, it puts pressure on someone who is just trying to be helpful. Often, former interns have no pull in the hiring process, so keep that in mind.
  • Go in unprepared. It’s crucial to make yourself look as good as possible–and the best way to do that is to be prepared with thoughtful questions.
  • Talk too much about yourself. You’re there to learn–so ask questions about who you’re networking with, make them feel special, and know enough about who you are talking to that you don’t spend too much time on the basic introductions. Plus, the more you know about the person you’re speaking with, the better the questions you can ask.

Try to stay positive. In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, “Everything you lose is a step you take.” Just because you didn’t get the internship you wanted doesn’t mean you failed; it just means you’ve gained experience and will know what to do differently the next time. 

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