Frequently Asked Questions
What are my responsibilities as an intern?
- Show up on time dressed appropriately for the internship.
- Be ready and willing to work and learn.
- Call your advisor and mentor if you are going to be late or absent. (This includes snow days!)
- Be pro-active. If you complete a task, don't wait around until someone notices - ask how you might be helpful with something else!
- Complete your logs on a daily basis.
- Be a good ambassador for Big Picture.
What if I have a lot of work to catch up on or don’t feel well? Can I stay at Big Picture?
No. If you are too sick to go to your internship then we don't want your germs at Big Picture either! If you are behind on work, then you need to reassess how you are managing your time. Your advisor will help with this, but you need to ask.
How long is my internship?
You start with a commitment of eight weeks. At the end of eight weeks, you, your advisor and mentor re-evaluate the internship and either decide to wrap up the experience or to continue. Some interns stay at their internship for a whole year, some several months, and some several years. Each is a case by case situation.
I’ve completed my initial commitment of eight weeks. Now what?
If the mentor would like to continue the internship, you are welcome to continue. If you would like to change to a different internship, you must continue at the current one until the new internship has been arranged.
I don’t like my internship. Can I quit?
No. If you are unhappy with your internship you should speak with your advisor. Your advisor can help you work with your mentor to try to make things more interesting at the worksite.
How will I get to the internship site?
Some students walk to their internships, some get rides from their parents, some are transported by Big Picture staff, and a few use public transportation. The method is chosen based on the internship’s location and hours.
What happens if I get sick or injured while at an internship site?
Call the school! Try your advisor, the internship coordinator, the program coordinator, and anyone else until you get a hold of someone.
Can I leave the internship site during the school day?
Yes, but only if you are with your mentor or another adult from the internship.
How do I get lunch at my internship?
If you come to school before your internship, you can ask the cafeteria to provide you with a bag lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you go directly to your internship from home, you are responsible for your own lunch.
Can I be paid?
No. However, it isn’t unusual for internships to turn into after-school or summer jobs.
Are internships required?
Yes. Internships are an integral part of the Big Picture Program. You cannot graduate otherwise.
What happens if I get fired from my internship?
If your mentor fires you for not meeting your responsibilities, that is equivalent to failing a class – you don’t get credit for the time spent at that internship.
What are the rules at an internship site?
You must follow the rules of the worksite in regards to appropriate dress, wearing safety gear, etc. Additionally, all school rules are still in effect; any activity prohibited at school is still prohibited at the worksite.
Do I need to go to my internship on half-days, vacation days, etc.?
You are not required to, but you may choose to go if your mentor agrees. However, Big Picture generally does not provide transportation (other than NFTA tokens) for these days. Make sure to remind your mentor when a half-day or day off from school is approaching.
What do I do if I have a problem with my worksite?
If there is a problem or if you have a question, you should contact your advisor. If your advisor is unavailable, you can contact the internship coordinator or program coordinator.
What do I do if I show up and my mentor isn’t there?
If your mentor has given you his or her cell phone number, try giving them a call. They may just be running a little late. If you find out your mentor isn’t coming in that day, call the school for further guidance.
If I’ve earned a half-credit (or full credit), can I come back to the program on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
No. However, extra time you spend at your internship will be “banked” towards your next credit.
I’ve found a business interested in having me as an intern. What are the next steps?Bring your potential mentor’s contact information to the internship coordinator. Do not make any commitments on your own. An internship site may be declined if it does not certain criteria:
- The internship site must be safe and follow federal and state labor law in regards to what duties you would perform.
- If Big Picture is providing transportation, the site needs to meet our transportation criteria (distance, time on the road, etc).
- There must continue to be opportunities for learning at the internship.
- The internship must not reflect negatively on the Big Picture Program. (For example, you may not intern with the local chapter of an extremist group).