*First published on the Times Union blog “This is college!?” I love internships…maybe that’s because I’ve had great ones. I wanted to share a tiny bit of my personal experiences and encourage others to pursue internships and not blow them off! Interned somewhere cool? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Internships sometimes get a bad rep but it all depends on where you work, who’s mentoring you and how hard YOU work. You’re obviously not going to have fond memories of your internship if you spend more time with the photocopier than you do with your boss. Comedian Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” That’s what you have to do. No one will walk up to you and hand you an internship, you have to reach out, network and get your foot in the door.
Ok, enough talk about doors. Internships are crucial to your post-college success. An Internships.com survey of employers and students found that 69% of large companies with more than 100 employers made full-time offers to their interns. If it doesn’t lead to a job at least it might lead to some new professional connections. Don’t forget to meet the people around the office and talk to the ones who are doing the job you might want to do in the near future. You’ll be surrounded by professionals. Take advantage of that!
Throughout my college career I’ve had three internships. This time last year I was interning at Metroland, this past summer I did a virtual internship with online travel website, Global Yodel and right now I’m at Times Union.
You know what I’m thankful for? Never having to sharpen pencils or be the go-to coffee run girl. My first days at all three internships were spent getting right into the good stuff. You won’t find that at just any workplace. I don’t know if I was just lucky or if I landed these internships because I wasn’t willing to settle. I spent hours on Internships.com searching for an interesting internship. I tried all kinds of keywords and search filters. I read what feels like hundreds of intern position summaries. Global Yodel caught my eye. Not only did it sound like a fun job (social media/editorial intern) but it also had a great, eye-catching website that made it look like a serious, professional but also really fun place to work for. Plus it was a virtual internship which meant I didn’t have to show up to an office…or even change out of my pajamas. Have you ever done work from your bed? It’s nice. I recommend it.
At Metroland I was able to really dive into the local scene in Albany. I got to report on a town meeting, interview fashion designers, and write a feature story on a local cidery. I never tackled the same topic twice. I wrote about a political movement but also about hook-up culture. One publication, so many flavors!
What I’m trying to say is don’t get invested in an internship if you think there is no real value to gain from it. I learned a lot during my internships and was given many great opportunities to do cool things and meet interesting people. Internships shouldn’t be dull or a way to kill time. They’re actually pretty valuable. If you find the right one, it can be an experience that will immensely improve your skills and look pretty great on your resume.
Now that I’m on my third (and hopefully final) internship, I’m sure these remaining months will be worth it. As long as I’m learning and being constantly challenged then I’m happy. I’m not here for the college credits, I’m here for the experience.