Internships are a great way for college students to get your foot in the door to the career you want. It’s also a great way for you to get a head start on what your life after college will look like. It’s true that most interns are underpaid and under-appreciated. But, the experience you gain during a “hands on” internship in your field is invaluable. More importantly, the connections you make by showing up and performing your job brilliantly will serve you well far beyond graduation.
These are just a few of the potential benefits you might want to mull over as you contemplate whether or not an internship is the best choice for you.
On the Job Training
A long time ago – in this galaxy believe it or not – people went through long apprenticeships to become masters in their fields. They were not paid for the most part. Many of them worked for room and board. But they learned a trade they could go out and use in the world to make their own way. Or, that was the hope. At the end of the apprenticeship the master would often provide the apprentice, a set of tools to start his journey to becoming a master craftsman in his own right.
The apprenticeships of old were much longer than the modern internship but the same valuable lessons are supposed to be learned. Internships give you the basic tools you’re going to need to start out in your career – whatever that field of work will be. No amount of “book learning” can trump genuine, hands on, experience when it comes to educational value.
Specific Industry Knowledge
No matter how specific your major is, the odds are that your classes in college are very non-specific. They are designed to reach the widest range of students possible. This means that once college is over, you still have a lot to learn about the actual work you want to do.
That’s why it’s so great to participate in internship programs that directly relate to the career you want to have. Don’t settle for any internship just to get a little extra college credit and hopefully earn a little money. This helps you in so many ways that aren’t limited to the knowledge you’ll gain alone.
It also gives you verifiable experience in the field once you’ve graduated and are in the job market. If you work hard and play your cards right during your internship you may even discover that doors will open to you within the company you’ve interned with once you graduate too.
The bottom line is that internships do open doors for your future. They are so much more than merely “paying your dues.” More importantly, they can help you get a head start over your college classmates when it comes to employment opportunities after graduation.