Here’s how to survive with your sanity intact
Your supervisor just dropped the bomb, “It’s eval time!” You probably didn’t hear whatever he said after that; all you could hear was your own internal voice shouting, “O-M-G.”
Ohemgee, simmer down. It’s not going to be as bad as you think—if you are ready. There is plenty that you can do to survive your first intern evaluation and maintain your sanity.
So, with the goal of staying in mind, we whipped up this handy guide for you.
You can thank us later, but right now, there’s a meeting to prepare for.
In life, we are judged according to a mess of seemingly random criteria. Some of it makes perfect sense: how we dress, how we talk, LSAT score. But when it comes to performance evaluations, one common scoring category is “interpersonal skills”. This means how you communicate and get along with your team.
You may prefer texting over sitting on the phone for an hour listening to another person breathe. You call it efficient (and we agree, btw), but if your supervisor considers that to be poor interpersonal skills, he’s going to count it against you.
The point is that these reviews aim to be as objective as possible, but at the end of the day, there is a human holding the pen.
You will be judged by your responses and through his or her personal perspective. Our advice? Prepare yourself.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Try to look at your eval as a whole, avoid making excuses or picking apart the details or you’ll risk losing your sanity.
“ When you’re good at making excuses, it’s hard to excel at anything else.
Know that they’re probably going to judge you on:
- Organizational Skills
- Punctuality and Time Management
- Interpersonal Skills
- Flexibility and Adaptability
Think about each of these and evaluate yourself on them first. Think of examples where you stood out or contributed in a positive way.
Additionally, they’re very likely to score you on position-specific items, so be ready. Preparing for your evaluation is the way to boost your own confidence and show your worth.
Prep like you’re about to run a marathon.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t be out until dawn partying the night before.
Or stay up all night watching Stranger Things. Don’t poison with your body with faux food from the drive-thru at midnight. Instead, get plenty of rest the night before your evaluation, and eat a simple meal of whole foods that will leave you feeling both satisfied and energized for the day ahead.
B Vitamins, specifically, are known to ward off anxiety, so take a supplement or arm your body with proven anxiety-fighting foods like:
- Leafy greens and asparagus
- Nuts, especially pistachios
- Wild-caught salmon
- Organic turkey
You might also skip after-dinner libations in favor of a cup of sleep-friendly chamomile tea.
Take that feedback like a boss.
You were 2 minutes late ONE TIME, but your supervisor is savage and his memory is infallible. We agree that minor infractions like this are really a stretch. But if you take responsibility for it, without making lame excuses they understand you take being on time seriously. That shows respect and maturity.
If your supe has nothing better to write about, then you must be slaying it at the office. Acknowledge that to yourself and move on.
Of course, you also need to admit the bona fide failures.
“ Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom.
If you received negative feedback about something legit, this is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and use those lessons to excel in the future. (You should also write those points down. More on that in a sec.)
Whatever the outcome, just say, “thank you.” Exit the room gracefully. Make it through your workday, and then go do some low-key venting with your trusted friends and family. Call your supervisor whatever you want; just don’t do it to his face or among your coworkers.
Remember that it’s all about the follow up.
You definitely do not want to do anything over the top, but you also don’t want to let your superiors think that this entire thing happened for no good reason at all.
Take a moment to send a thank you email with 2-3 key takeaways from your meeting. This not only shows that you paid attention, but it’s also respectful to your supervisor’s position, which could make your last few weeks go a lot smoother.
For your own benefit, use your evaluation as a way to be honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses.
Make positive changes now that will boost your career for decades to come. After all, every internship comes to an end, and you’re only going up from here.