OPINION: Internships are an investment in your future
With classes and jobs taking up the majority of our time as college students, squeezing in an internship or two can seem stressful, but it’s worth the extra effort.
Internships and apprenticeships offer a look into a career field that most classes can’t. They require you to get out of the classroom and put everything you have learned to use while learning new skills and the ins and outs of the job.
I recently finished a summer apprenticeship at the Arizona Daily Star and after two months of having hands-on experience in a professional environment, I feel more confident in joining the workforce once the final chapter of my college career comes to an end. Although my apprenticeship was unpaid, I can now add it to my resume and show future employers that I have the past experience they look for when hiring fresh-out-of-college workers.
If you are like me, finances are a big part of choosing when and how to do an internship. Summer internships come in handy because you have more time to fit a part time job into your schedule. Sure, you may have to sacrifice a summer vacation or two, but the work you put in now helps you later on.
Some internships also provide an opportunity to earn class credit, whether they are done during a regular semester or during the summer. However, this means students have to pay for them in the same way they do for other credit-bearing courses.
There are plenty of internships that students do not have to pay for, but the trade-off is that these will not earn you credits, so keep that in mind when applying for them.
Speaking of applying, it’s important to apply for multiple internships even if you don’t absolutely love all of them. Chances are that a handful of other students will be competing for the same spot, so having a backup plan helps prevent you from being left with no internship at all.
And remember: From the moment you go in for the internship interview until you leave on the final day of it, professionalism is key. Follow the dress code of the workplace, come prepared to work and make sure you have a clear sense of what is expected of you.
Making a good first impression with everyone you meet along the way is essential to building professional relationships and showing everyone that you take your work seriously.
Going into an internship can be intimidating when you are surrounded by seasoned professionals, but keep in mind that they want to see you succeed and most likely have been in your position before.
During my time as an apprentice, I realized that not being afraid to ask questions made the experience more valuable. Internships are the perfect place to be curious and learn from the people who have made names for themselves in the career you plan to go into.
College is the time to really invest in your future, and it goes by quicker than you think, so don’t put off internships until the last minute. Take it from me, they are worth it.
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