What’s the point of an internship?

A student discusses the benefits she found from interning over the summer

Once upon a time I thought internships were a waste of time. I thought that they were pointless, and I was convinced that I would never do one. I was wrong.

In my junior year, the Center for Career Planning put on an entire fair just for my major. I was really busy, but I decided that I needed to do something to get an internship. I uploaded my resume to Handshake, and applied to every company that came even though I did not know much about the companies. Surprisingly, I got eight interviews for various internships within my major. While that sounds like a lot to handle, it was actually great experience. By the end, I felt a lot better about interviews, and I got less stressed for each one. 

Not long after the interview, I got my offer to work over the summer. I was reluctant at first because of wanting to be with my family, the almost hour commute and housing, but I ended up taking the job.

And I am so glad I did. 

To start, I met so many amazing people. They were all welcoming and helpful. They wanted to get to know me, and immediately added me to their social media accounts to stay in touch. I got close to many different people, including several partners at the firm. I know it is said constantly by the CCP, but I was unaware of how easy it is to network. From my internship I now have so many more people to reach out to for advice and opportunities. Also, a few people there also came from CNU and my fraternity, and they were able to put in a good word about my university and organization. I did not realize it, but being involved and the connections you make actually matter a lot. 

I normally roll my eyes when people talk about how much work experience they got from an internship. I could not believe one could actually gain much insights on their field in a single summer of work. Every day, however,  I was doing real work that I would do if I worked there, and I was treated as more than just an intern. I had freedom without people looking over my shoulder, and I even had my own clients that I reported to. It was enriching because I could see real applications of my school work, and I could see how everything I did add up to something bigger. 

I learned so much, and things make more sense to me even in my classes now. Internships are great to discover if you will actually like the career that you are pursuing. I loved what I did over the summer, but that is not always the case. Sometimes you need to actually live it to find out if you really want to do it,

After my internship, I was sad to leave. I matured a lot while working because, for the first time, I felt like an “adult” adult. I was working full time, riding the metro every day and working in DC. Knowing this feeling, I am less stressed about how I am going to make it in the real world after I graduate in May.  

This leads me to the biggest perk of internships: job offers. My internship led me to a full time job offer once I graduate from CNU. And I am not alone. Most of my classmates who did an internship this summer got job offers from their respective companies. In fact, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, “Internships Help Community College Grads’ Job Prospects,”  40 percent of students with a relevant job or internship had a good job already lined up once they left their universities. Compare this to the six percent of people who had a job lined up but without an internship. So, no, you are not guaranteed a job offer, but your chances of having a job are significantly higher. 

If you didn’t get an offer, or didn’t like that particular company, that internship you did is still useful. You know whether you would want to work there after graduation, and you may know if you just want to change your major. 

You also get to add an internship to your resume, and trust me, hiring companies love to see this. It shows that you actually have work experience in your field and you’ve done more than just study for it. 

In addition, if you did decent at your internship, you can also get valuable recommendations. They can tell your next interested employer why they should hire you, and it will be more credible than your best friend writing a recommendation instead.

Lastly, while I did not do this, your internship can get you college credit. It can help you reach your graduation goals, and it can even be used in place of a class you may not want to take. 

In all, every student should take advantage of internships. PLP was smart to make it a requirement because it really is such a great opportunity. 

Even if it is unpaid, internships teach you a lot about your field, they help you network with many “higher ups,” you get to experience that after graduation life while still having a safety net, it looks great on your resume, and it is very possible you will get an offer to work after graduation.

Taking that internship was one of the best things that I have done at CNU. I know exactly what I am doing after my graduation, and an internship can do that for you too. 

Even if you are nervous, just do it. Submit your resume and apply. You can’t lose anything, but you can gain so much.

~Vivianna Atkins, Staff Writer~

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