I'm an incoming SDE intern and will be joining the team at the end of this month. I'm eager to get started and make the most of this opportunity. Last summer, I feel like I didn't perform up to my own expectations and left some room for improvement. I was fortunately to have a return offer but I think I don't really deserve it. This summer, I am committed to learning from my past experiences and striving to do my best. As part of my preparation, I'm planning to have a meeting with our manager to discuss my goals for this summer.
If your goal is a full-time return offer, I would look to be explicit with your manager around the expectations for a return offer and look to see if they can define behaviors and milestones they expect you to meet during your internship. Every 2 weeks - 1 month, I'd skew the 1:1 conversation to get a sense of where they think you're trending. If you have a mentor, I'd look to lean more on them for tactical feedback (if you don't have one, get your manager to pair you up with one).
Are there any key topics or questions you recommend I should raise in this initial meeting?
How can I best communicate my summer goals to our manager?
Write a doc and share it with your manager in your first 1 on 1! It shows initiative, and it will make their life easier. Here's a good video about creating an expectations plan: Avoid This Performance Review Death Trap - Creating An Expectations Plan
Is there anything you wish you had known or asked when you first joined the team?
In almost every time I onboarded, I wish I was more aggressive about asking questions, seeking help, and meeting with the team. I highly recommend watching our onboarding masterclass, so you don't make the same mistakes I did, hehe: [Masterclass] How To Succeed At A New Team Or Company As A Software Engineer
Best of luck with the internship!