When first-day jitters affect first impressions

After a restless night and just a few hours of sleep, the young aspiring intern awakens, rises to his feet and springs into motion to prepare for his first day on the job. He grabs his toothbrush and hops into the shower (demonstrating his strong multitasking ability!). After quickly drying himself he slips into his suit, laid out the night before, his tie already tied to avoid any morning catastrophe. He gathers his notepad and backpack then heads to the kitchen for breakfast. His stomach, in knots, grumbles with reluctance to his cereal. He tips the bowl back and finishes the milk. He checks his watch, 7:00 a.m.

Later that morning, the incredibly over-prepared intern sits in a corporate lobby nervously awaiting direction. He passes time by reviewing emails about first-day logistics. Suddenly, a man waves and introduces himself: “Hi, I’m Zack. Nice to finally meet you. Welcome.” The intern clumsily replies with gratitude and shakes Zack’s hand.

“We are excited to have you. I’ll be one of your supervisors. Just hold on one second and I’ll be right with you,” Zack says.

“I’m excited to be here! Thanks, Nick.” As the words tumble out, the intern’s stomach drops. Within just seconds of meeting his new boss the anxious and now disheartened intern has already called him the wrong name. That’s it, the intern thinks. No rebounding from this. (See photo above to relive this awkward moment)

Fast-forward two weeks and that intern is still employed. He is getting up to speed in his work and is nurturing his work relationships. Perhaps more importantly, Zack appears to have forgiven him.

On that first day, the intern’s worst fears had been realized. He had always been told how important introductions are, and he botched his very first one in his new office. With his boss. Now, with time to reflect, the intern has put the incident in perspective.

First-day nerves are normal and sometimes inescapable. However, there are ways to make it easier. The best is preparation. You can easily reduce uneasiness by planning out your attire and transportation the night before. Studying up on information regarding your company and position doesn’t hurt, either.

But regardless of preparation, there are bound to be mishaps, as illustrated by our intern’s experience. Accepting this reality can mentally prime you to deal with unexpected misfortunes or mistakes.

The truth is your first day or week won’t go perfectly. This can especially frustrate interns who have a limited time to make an impact and leave good impressions. As the intern who lived this first-day debacle, I advise you not to dwell in your expectations. They will change. What’s important is adjusting to situations that arise — good or bad — and continuing to strive for your personal and professional goals.

Check out what it’s like to be an intern at CSC!

Want to learn more about what we do at CSC?


On the origin and evolution of the intern

Finding your niche as an intern or new hire

How interns can start networking

brad-mann-bioBradley Mann is a summer intern working in the content hub at CSC’s Tysons location. Bradley is an upcoming senior at James Madison University majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Bradley will be blogging throughout his summer internship with CSC’s Content Hub. Connect with him on LinkedIn.


  1. S Schiller says:

    Thanks for putting into words what most people experience in new situations.
    I look forward to following your blog.


  2. geosupergirl says:

    Great first blog Bradley. Looking forward to reading more.


  3. Well written Bradley. A good read, clean and crisp. Keep em coming.


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