Why are internships important? What do they even do for people? If you have ever asked those questions, you are not alone.
This is my first internship, besides a few job shadows here and there, and it has been a big step for me. I am a small-town girl from southern Virginia, who traveled seven hours from home to work in a city—at the largest Cincinnati-based advertising agency—just to test the waters and to see what it’s like to be a professional marketer.
Everyone always says that having an internship before graduating from college is smart, but I’ve also heard some internship horror stories. I’ve heard stories of people only being called “the intern,” rather than their actual name, for eight hours a day. I’ve also heard stories of interns only being sent out on coffee runs every hour. If you like those things, that’s cool, but the job market can be extremely competitive, and an internship can substantially increase one’s chance of finding employment upon graduating. I have only been an intern at Curiosity for twenty-four days, but thanks to the help of some really awesome coworkers, plus some of my own insights, I have put together a list of ten reasons why an internship is beneficial:
- An internship enables you to take your potential career for a test drive. You can dip your toes in the water to see if you would actually enjoy what you envision yourself doing as a future career.
- I’ve realized that most jobs categorize an entry-level position as 3-4 years experience. Um, excuse me, how is that possible? Employers increasingly want to see individuals with experience, and an internship will give you just that.
- For some internships, you may be able to earn college credit while on the job.
- You may gain valuable understanding of your major during your internship, which will help you when selecting your coursework. You can also implement what you have learned in school at your internship.
- You gain new skills at an internship that you would not obtain in school.
- Internships give you the opportunity to build up your resume.
- They also give you the opportunity to build up your network of connections—you may gain some lifelong friends and mentors, if you’re lucky.
- Interships can help you gain confidence in yourself.
- Plus, you might even make some money.
- Most importantly, internships can be an awesomely fun experience!
Even though I understood all of these points, I wondered if it would all be true, so I decided to survey my coworkers to learn about their experiences with internships. Check out the results:
Although this is only a small sample, the survey revealed that of the individuals who had an internship, 85% felt that they were more prepared for the real world! That has to count for something, right?
With my next question, however, I realized that the people who did not feel that they were prepared might feel that way because their internships weren’t in the same fields in which they currently work. More often then not, having an internship before graduating definitely has its perks.
An internship can be an awesome experience that can build memories to last a lifetime. Some of my coworkers had some really interesting experiences with the internships that they shared:
“I starred in a holiday TV commercial for the Cincinnati Zoo…dressed in a giant oversized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer suit that was supposed to fit someone over 6’ tall. I’m 5’3”.” —Alisa Pitocco
“I did an internship with the Dayton Dragons Professional Baseball Team and it was the year the team broke the consecutive sell-out record!” —Amy Hood
“I tried to put a turkey in a dishwasher…it’s a long story.” —George Taliaferro
“A week after I presented my marketing plan to a band that had started their own record label, the guitarist and violinist pronounced their love for each other, quit the band, joined the Peace Corps and ran away to Africa together. Rendering my plan—and the band/label—obsolete. #flakeymusicians” —Stacey Swift
“My favorite one might be when I met Ryan Gosling during an internship in New York City in 2005, right after The Notebook came out and he was the country’s biggest heartthrob. Sigh.” —Leigha Schneider
While I have not worked with flakey musicians and I have yet to meet any celebrities, I have already learned so much in my internship at Curiosity—and I still have six weeks left.
Moral of this story: get out there and be adventurous and curious. Take the opportunity to experience an internship that could change your life!
– Karleigh Marshall, Curiosity Intern