The Value In a College Internship

Once I entered my junior year of college I was burdened with the anxiety-ridden reality of the fact that I was more than halfway done with college. In other words, “adulting” was about to become very real to me.

After college, the usual rite of passage is to get a full time job (or how I like to call it, a “big girl job”). The thought of this made me feel both scared and excited. I was excited because graduating college meant no more school forever and no more eye-bags due to 8 am’s and all-nighters. However, I was scared because I realized that I have absolutely no real work experience in my field. While the bachelors degree is great and all, it really is just a piece of paper. I can’t argue that everything I had learned in school up to this point was valuable. Nonetheless, this didn’t change the fact that I had no hands-on real world work experience where I could put my knowledge to the test. I had to face the hard truth that employers are most likely going to be looking for more than just my degree on my resume. This epiphany of mine made me realize two things: I needed experience before I graduated and I needed to land an internship ASAP.

Now, lets get real about the process of landing an internship. To be quite frank, it can be tough. The tricky part was that being a full-time student was already hard work. Adding on an internship on top of that? A headache waiting to happen. However, despite my self-doubt, I was determined to land an internship that would be beneficial to my future.

The process of landing an internship was not an easy one. The truth is I applied for many, many, MANY internships. I only got called back for an interview a handful of times. It could be a little disheartening, but I didn’t let that get me down. I kept pushing myself and I knew that eventually I would land the right internship. It took many nerve wracking interviews, but eventually I did land the perfect internship. In fact, it was the internship that I hoped I would land the most. The excitement was real my friends. I learned one major thing from the internship hunting process: NEVER give up on your dreams and goals. It’s natural to feel discouraged at times, but the most important thing is to push through that discouragement and turn it into motivation instead. 

The first day of my internship was a day full of excitement and nerves. I so desperately wanted to impress my new coworkers and my boss that I put way too much pressure on myself to be the “perfect” intern. I learned quickly that I was going to be making lots of mistakes in the beginning. I was new at a lot of what I was doing and I had to remind myself that making mistakes is natural. Making mistakes will honestly teach you the most and as an intern you’re there to learn. After the first week of interning, I knew that I was in the right place for me. I was already learning so much and it felt empowering.

A key factor of having an internship is finding out for yourself if you actually really enjoy the work you're doing. Because while you may be majoring in that certain field, you may realize while interning in that field, it isn’t for you. An internship can be a major turning point for any college student. This is because your getting immersed in a world that can potentially be your entire future after college. This is the biggest thing I’ve taken away from my internship.

Throughout my internship I’ve learned that I truly love what I’m doing and it has been a huge relief for me. This is why I would recommend any college student to try at least one internship during your four years. You’ll learn more about yourself in the process. You’ll gain real experience and learn new skills that can be applied in your future. It might not be easy and the work plus school hustle may be a lot at times, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.