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  #41  
Old 06-29-2018, 03:43 PM
JoeGot JoeGot is offline
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My internship was pretty similar. I had awful work, and I had very little in common with my co-workers. I'm generally shy, and I was pretty self-conscious about the situation. But I don't think I had anxiety issues.

I would say two things (echoing other sentiments)

1) let your work speak for itself. even if you don't necessarily fit into the company culture, if you produce impressive work and make yourself valuable, then you can be who you are and eventually will fit in.

2) having the internship can easily be a ticket to a different company where you may fit in better. stick out the internship and go for the next opportunity.

i still am not the most social, and I often participate in groups without saying much. but I know my work is appreciated and valued, and I am able to interact enough that I'm not a nuisance. and as I've come to appreciate that, i have become more comfortable with myself in that context.

you don't necessarily have to change who you are, as long as you can become comfortable with who you are.

good luck!
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  #42  
Old 06-29-2018, 03:51 PM
bsanders33 bsanders33 is offline
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Originally Posted by ronaldy27 View Post
My manager (non-actuary) told me how whenever he goes to these actuarial events, he'd initially see very reserved actuaries but once they get some alcohol in their systems, they'd turn into different people. haha

Right before I went to the ERM symposium (pretty much for high senior level risk managers), I felt a little anxious I'd get myself into your type of situation where I won't be able to fit in with these much older and experienced actuaries/risk managers but it turned out fine. I'm glad no one asked me "...so how are you running your ERM program?"

Hey I'm one of those very actuaries that your boss describes

Networking events with mostly strangers is sort of an extreme example of a scary situation for an introvert, and, fortunately, it's rare enough that most of us can resort to alcohol to get by and do well. we "self medicate". But for everyday problems like the op describes, self medicating would be a very bad idea, and there's no shame at all in seeking out professional help, including prescribed anxiety medicine
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  #43  
Old 06-29-2018, 04:24 PM
doodlebug050 doodlebug050 is offline
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OP, I'm sorry to hear you're going through this. Echoing other posters in that there is some great advice in this thread. Also, want to say it will get better. I had similar feelings when I first started out - not fitting in, feeling super awkward at all the forced socializing.

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Shadowrunner, I was in a very similar situation as you during my internship. I had already come to grips with my social anxiety and was actively speaking with a psychiatrist and taking medications, but the awkwardness/fear was still quite difficult at times.

My company emphasized how important is was for successful interns to prove they are a good fit for the company and that they socialize/network well with their peers. I didn't resent the company for this -- after all, people want to work with other like-able people -- but I was petrified that I would not receive a return offer since these things did not come naturally and were counter to everything my brain was telling me to do. And I really wanted an offer -- there aren't too many actuarial jobs in my city, and my (then soon-to-be) wife and I preferred not to re-locate.

Here's what I did to best stand out and show I would be a valuable addition to the company:
1. Work hard (and I mean hard); do everything I could to learn, produce, and ask meaningful questions. Complete tasks completely and punctually. Be open to challenges and new projects.
2. Continue studying during the internship. Make it clear that you are not treating the summer as a vacation from exams (not that that is a bad thing, but this definitely helped me & harmed other interns who didn't study at all).
3. Suffer through as much social interaction as you can tolerate. There's no way around if you want to work in an office, and I found that while I always had a difficult time relating to the other interns, I was able to interact more easily with my manager and other seasoned actuaries.

I ended up getting a glowing review from my manager and was fortunate enough to receive a return offer. I don't say all this to brag, and having a successful internship is certainly not the most important thing in the world or end-all-be-all. Just know that it is possible and that you are not alone in your struggles. I echo (most) of the advice provided earlier in this thread.
Great post. Item 1 is spot on: I work in a consulting company and while yes, we do look for a good culture fit, work quality is the most important factor when deciding which interns to hire full-time. One of the key things you can do is to build a reputation of being reliable: get work done on time and ensure it's of a good standard. Over the past couple of years, we've definitely hired new grads who kept to themselves, but did great work.
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  #44  
Old 06-29-2018, 04:26 PM
doodlebug050 doodlebug050 is offline
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2. Found a place where I could actually fit into the culture. Every place is going to want you to be able to reach out to other people via email or phone call. Not every place is going to want you to socialize with your coworkers and attend all the happy hours and be a part of a very specific corporate culture. Finding a place where there's room for people like you and no one's going to give you a hard time about being quiet is so important. I still struggle from time to time, and there's room in my company for me to have bad weeks or months and not get booted off the island. You probably won't find it right away, but what you're looking for is a low key place where people won't judge you for everything all the time. It's easier to find this in a smaller city, but every company is different.


You can do this. You're not alone. Do your best, learn to yawn internally (the trick is just keeping your jaw shut), and remember that there is life after internship.
So true. My current company is a great fit for me: people definitely hang out after work and there are company social events, but no pressure to attend. There are several people who just do their work and go home.
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  #45  
Old 06-29-2018, 05:08 PM
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I'm a parent of a young adult with an anxiety disorder and depression. See a doctor. Your parents will be glad if you can get help.
This.

We parents are pretty intuitive. We'll pick up that there is something bothering you, and it will drive us crazy until we know what it is.

Yes, they might sound/act worried when you first tell them, because they'll be worried that the problem is even bigger than what you're telling them. But they will be more than happy to help out. That's what parents do. We want to help. We want to be useful.

Letting you use the insurance that they're already paying for... that's just a no-brainer.

Last edited by Egghead; 06-29-2018 at 05:15 PM..
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  #46  
Old 06-29-2018, 05:13 PM
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My propensity for self-medicating at an alarmingly increasing rate is why I'm on the meds. Not a good long term solution for the mentally ill.
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You wouldn’t be Tiffany if there wasn’t at least some risk at any given point in time that you’re going to go batshit and threaten to burn our houses down. Why stop posting now?
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  #47  
Old 06-29-2018, 05:14 PM
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I had a problem similar to this when I was put in some sort of leadership program. I was the only actuary there. I was also older than everybody else, because I'm a career changer. So I struggled to fit in from a variety of perspectives. Heck, I've even had the same problem among other actuaries, especially early in my career when I was several years older than my peers.

In both situations, I defaulted to my old standby: humor. I'm not hilarious. But I can occasionally make people chuckle. People see you as more human when you do that.

Not sure if that works for the OP. But I've seen a lot of introverts use that successfully.
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  #48  
Old 06-30-2018, 04:14 PM
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Take an improv comedy class. Finishing one makes all other small talk situations feel less awkward.

You're probably not as bad as you think you are if you put the effort in.
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  #49  
Old 07-02-2018, 09:23 PM
RoyalMath15 RoyalMath15 is offline
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My advice definitely goes along with what everyone else has been saying. You're not alone OP. I'm currently in my first internship too and I can definitely relate to the whole "worrying about how I'm doing compared to others (they seem to be picking it up so much faster!), will I be the only one to not get an offer, why is everything that the full time actuaries say going over my head". I think a lot of us go through this and you should just focus on YOU. So many of the problems we give ourselves are in our own head.

Put forth your best effort, ask questions about problems you run into, and do the best work that you possibly can. Anything beyond that is out of your control. Even if everything you hand in is completely and totally wrong, at least you can say you gave it your best shot and you can learn from your mistakes. As people have said before, if things don't work out at this company learn as much as you can and use this experience to help you find another job and try again!

I hope this was somewhat helpful. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to enjoy the opportunity as much as you can. Good luck with the rest of your internship, you'll do great!
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  #50  
Old 07-12-2018, 08:53 PM
zenkei18 zenkei18 is offline
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I started an actuarial internship about a month ago and I absolutely hate my life. I always had anxiety and I have not been able to interact very well with most of the interns (just made 1 acquaintance). They aren't rude or anything, but I always had trouble socializing and I was fine with keeping to myself. My manager however has been encouraging me to hang out with the interns more and said behavior is a big part of whether or not you get a return offer (which I'm probably not going to get). I smile and stuff when I'm listening to people talk, but I just can't join the conversation. At this point, the interns have also stopped trying to talk to me cause they feel hopeless about me as well. The thing is I CANT interact with them...idk... i need to talk to a shrink or something, but I just get too anxious and have nothing in common. Furthermore, this has been affecting my work performance because I lack the courage to ask help from the other interns if I have any. I thus go to my manager for all my questions, but I'm starting to feel this is a problem because he wants me to find my own connections to get help. So now I'm hesitating to get help at all, which I know is worse than getting help from only my manager.

Right now I realize an office position probably won't be the right fit for me and that I will have to look elsewhere for a career. Until I fix my personal problems, I will probably have trouble in any office position.

What is freaking me out even more is that in a month the company sends interns that "meet expectations" to the headquarters and I feel like I'm most probably not going to get selected. This isn't meant to be a difficult thing to achieve... I very strongly believe I will be the only intern to not travel. I can't help but feel embarrassed that I will not only look like an outcast, but people will also realize that I am a complete failure at my work. I wouldn't care normally, but some of these people go to my school and I'll have to confront them again. I know this isn't a problem for most of you, but I can't help but feel guilty and embarrassed and inferior.

Moreover, I also don't catch whats happening in meetings. My manager brings me along to his meetings with his manager and the rest of the team, and I don't understand anything. They talk about what they're working on and I usually ask my manager 2-3 questions after the meeting just to make it seem like I'm paying attention but I barely understand whats going on. Furthermore, I find these meetings very very boring. I try to control myself, but I yawn atleast twice an hour during each meeting. I know this looks bad and I try to cover it, but I think people start to notice. I try to pay attention, but things just go in one ear and out the other.


I'm not entirely sure what I'm asking for, but I just needed to get this off my chest. I'll be graduating in 6 months and will most probably need to figure out what I'm going to do after college, but right now I am horribly depressed. I hate waking up in the morning -- I get stomach cramps during breakfast just knowing that I'll have to face my manager and the other interns today. Everyday I'm stressing my boss telling me I'm not travelling to the headquarters, and I'm not sure what I'll be doing if I'm the only intern in the office.... I just feel completely defeated.
I echo Tiffany's earlier sentiment, definitely seek some sort of professional help. Don't be too proud; just because this is how life normally is for you doesn't mean that this is how it should be. As far as the internship goes, you are young, even if it doesn't pan out you have your whole life to look forward to landing some place once you get everything sorted out.
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