College is about expanding your mind and preparing yourself for the “real world” you must survive in after graduation. You attend your classes, join your organizations, and take on your various leadership roles, but are you really going to be prepared to jump into any work situation as soon as you graduate?
A year ago, I felt overwhelmed by the concept of graduating in two years. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and even less of an idea how to find out. At a loss, I went to see Aimee Sapp, one of the top teachers in my major (communications). She strongly encouraged that I take an internship.
“But how do I know what internship to take?” I asked. “I don’t even know how to choose that!”
“It honestly doesn’t really matter which one you take,” she responded. “The important thing is that you get some job experience. If it ends up being in a job you really enjoy, then that’s great—you’ve gotten an idea for what you might want to do with your career! If it ends up being something you don’t like, that’s good too; at least it gives you the opportunity to scratch something off your list of possibilities and learn a little more about yourself in the process.”
Now, a year later and halfway through my two internships I decided to take, I realize just how much truth Aimee’s statements held. I will write more later in the semester about what exactly I am doing for my internships, but for now, I just want to say that I absolutely love the experience and I am so glad I decided to make taking an internship a priority. So much so, in fact, that I think every student should take at least one internship during their college career, for a couple reasons. First, you learn SO MUCH. The things you learn in the classroom are certainly important, but they can’t compare to the knowledge you gain first-hand in an internship. My mind feels like it’s about to explode with all the new information it’s taking in! Second, doing an internship gives you real-life, job-applicable experience. Internships essentially allow you to “test drive” a job before actually taking one—an unbelievably valuable opportunity. Plus, it gives you the chance to develop and hone new skills that you will be able to use when you take your first real job after graduation.
The types of jobs new graduates can choose are literally endless. Thus, each job a new graduate takes is unique to that individual. Given this wide range of possibilities, it is my opinion that nothing can completely prepare you for the first job you will take. However, I am now a firm believer in the power of internships to greatly enhance your preparations! Doing an internship during your junior or senior year will undoubtedly ease your transition from college into the real world and make you more successful in the job you choose—and you’ll have fun along the way!