Museum of History News

My summer as an intern . . .

The Museum of History supports as many as 20 volunteer interns over the course of a year in a variety of opportunities. Tori Harrigan was chosen for one of this summer’s internships; she is working in the education section as a programs assistant. During her stay, she will be documenting some of her experiences. What better place, she thought, than to start at the very beginning . . .

Summer intern Tori, with Thomas Day outside the Museum of History.
Tori Harrigan, one of several summer 2016 interns at the Museum of History (posing with a statue of Thomas Day outside the front entrance), relaxed at orientation when she realized “my outfit is not too casual”—at least, in comparison to some other interns!

The night before Day 1 was tough. I had psyched myself up to make everything seem more nerve-wracking than it needed to be, with “worries” such as . . . Where do I park? Should I take a lunch? Is this outfit too casual? Is this one too formal? Are the people I’ll be working with friendly?

I got to the point—after I bombarded myself with relevant, but unnecessary questions—that I had trouble sleeping and just wished that time would move more quickly.

Well, time passed, Day 1 has arrived, and I realize: I don’t know the faces of anyone I’ve corresponded with over the weeks. And, now, as I sit in a room for our group orientation, I feel more clueless than ever before! So, to take my mind off everything else, I begin judging the outfits of other interns—and my outfit is not too casual.

As a speaker steps up to the podium, I cross my fingers, hoping that orientation will not last the whole three hours; now I’m just anxious to meet my supervisor, Emily, and everyone else I’ll be working with!

THREE . . . HOURS . . . LATER—yes, the session did last all three hours—we got out. Luckily, during that time, I had found out Emily was in the room. Now that we’ve met, I no longer feel I’m completely in the dark. Instead, it’s full steam ahead, and I’m about to meet the rest of the office!

Now I have a new worry to wrack my nerves: How am I going to remember everyone’s names?

Tip of the week: How to remember names
So many new people; so many names! How will I remember them all?

The number of people you meet in a day is not that bad—until you can’t remember everyone’s—or anyone’s—names! Each person you meet may only mean one new name to remember, but when you’re entering a new environment, you might have 5, 10, or even 20 new names!

On your first day, you’ll likely be overwhelmed with names; but, fortunately, that will be the toughest day. In the following weeks, you’ll come to remember the names of those you see regularly. Also, after the first day, you may only be introduced to one or two new people.

So how can you remember names?

  • To start, repeat the name after an introduction. Say something like, “It was nice to meet you, ____” or “I look forward to working with you, ____”.
  • Whenever you see someone after the initial introduction, even if you don’t speak to them, say their name in your head to strengthen that mental recognition.
  • When sitting in on meetings, write down names—and job responsibilities. This list will prove helpful during the meeting and will help you to know who to contact with any questions after the meeting—everyone is important and may be of assistance down the road—don’t count anyone out!

Ultimately, use whatever trick works to help you remember names. And, if you forget a name, don’t be afraid to ask someone to remind you of what their name is—or what they do; or both.

Tori Harrigan is an intern, blogging from the North Carolina Museum of History.

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