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The Importance of Internships (even the unpaid ones)

While in college, there is one important topic that always begins floating around. Internships. A majority of disciplines strongly encourage students to find internships both during the school year and during the summer; yet, students often seem hesitant. Will I have the time? Is it going to be too much on top of my school work? And most importantly: is it paid. While the fears are completely understandable I myself am discovering that an internship is really the best option if it is an accessible option.  Here three out of the many reasons why you should think about pursing an internship.

  • Real World Experience

One of the best aspects of an internship is the opportunity to work in your respective field and gain new skills while you’re still in school. How great is that! It is also a valuable way to network and build new connections within your respective industry. Lastly, every new experience not only offers new learning opportunities but also is a great way to add experiences to your resume for when the time comes to get out into the job market.

  • Possible Class Credit

Often times you may be able to receive credits towards your degree by doing an internship. It is definitely something worth looking into at your respective institution; however, at NMSU varying degrees offer up to 3 credit hours for doing an internship. Think of it like adding on another class but this one pays off in experience and connections.

 

 

  • New Opportunities Post Grad

As previously stated, internships offer a way to make connections and network within an industry. By doing this, you never know what kinds of doors you could open up for yourself all because you took the chance on an internship! And if you find a company/workplace you fall in love with, internships are a great gateway into a possible full-time position. Or say you find your absolute dream job, now you have a great resource and reference in order to get your foot in the door.

These three reasons are some of the more pressing reasons to get an internship and there are so many other reasons to look for an internship. So, how can you get started looking for one? The best place to start is at the source. Ask professors in your department if they know of any opportunities or if they have any they would recommend. Department faculty is often the greatest resource as they have worked in the industry or maybe still are, so be sure to ask them first! The next stop could be your schools network, for NMSU Aggie Career Manager often times has internships in the community or surrounding areas listed along with how to apply to them. The last place to begin exploring is the world wide web. Job finders like Indeed or LinkedIn have thousands upon thousands of postings in your area and around the nation. Be sure to check it out as you never know what you’ll stumble upon.

Lastly, yes, even unpaid internships are worth it. Of course, if you are working long hours and still aren’t getting paid then definitely rethink; however, internships that offer short unpaid hours offer the merit of experience and a resume builder. Think of unpaid internships as the sometimes-necessary stepping block to paid internships or even a full job. Every experience, both positive and negative, offers something to learn and internships are one of the most valuable learning opportunities in college. So, get out there and see what great new internship is awaiting you!

Student at NMSU double majoring in Journalism and Government. 
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