The ups and downs of searching for internships
What is more important to your future employment than hands-on experience?
Sure everyone looks for your degree and that impressive GPA, but what beefs up your resume and helps to set you apart from others is the amount and quality of your actual experience in your chosen field.
With that in mind, this is really the time to get going on obtaining that summer internship if you have not done so already.
Erin Reigle, a fellow junior majoring in psychology with a women and gender studies minor, has had some experience with internships. Most recently she interned at Transitions, a domestic violence and sexual assault center that offers educational programs and counseling as well as a 24/7 hotline and legal advocacy. When asked what prompted her to take an internship in the first place she said, like many, that it was required by her major.
“Even if it wasn’t a requirement I still would have taken an internship at some point,” Reigle explained. “It was a valuable experience.
I learned how to interact with real clients, how to handle the hotline phone and I learned important life lessons from the people that have worked there for years that you would not necessarily get from a textbook.
Not only does it give you necessary experience, it is a great opportunity to meet people in your chosen field to make connections. It is all about networking.” Reiglemade the interesting point that in our generation it is becoming more and more common for students to be required by their major to take an internship.
In order to keep up with the competition, this is definitely a step to consider taking.
“So many people are getting involved now that I kind of feel like I have to have multiple internships in order to stand out.”
It is widely known that most internship programs are unpaid, leaving interns giving their time for free. What Reigle found hard to swallow was paying for time, that is, paying for your internship to count toward your major.
A specific complaint she encountered while interning at Transitions was that there was little for her to do at times. “As much as they say that they need the help, there are things that an intern isn’t capable of or trained to do.
Sometimes they don’t have anything for you to do and you feel more in the way than helpful.”
The benefits received obviously far exceed the minor downfalls.
They can help confirm that what you are going for career-wise is really what you want to do.
On the other hand, they can also make you realize that what you thought you wanted really doesn’t seem like something you can see yourself doing.
Either way, you are getting something out of it.
Reigle plans on going back to Transitions this summer. “I was fortunate with my work at Transitions because it reaffirmed that this is what I want to do with my life.”