If you are at all like me, you probably came to college thinking the TV depiction was accurate, right?
On the small screen, it’s all about the frat parties, the gross cheap beer, and the procrastination, while
still being able to ace an exam. And of course, it’s rare that you find a show that talks about the actual
purpose of college; career prep.
I often call college summer camp for young adults. It’s also the purgatory for career discussions, as
we tend to push away anything that makes us think about work. So, when you’re thrust into a new
environment with few rules, no parents, and sleep deprivation, you often miss out on a lot of important
aspects of this four-year career prep opportunity.
Getting an internship is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself during
college. Not only does it teach you valuable skills for your future career, it provides the chance to work
in the field you may end up totally hating, thus giving you the opportunity to find a better suited major
and career path. You could end up interning for a company you’ve grown up admiring and realize you’re
terrible at business and would prefer to become an anthropologist and study a gorilla’s relationship to
humans. But if you wait until you’re a senior to get an internship, how will you know if that field is best
suited for you?
My favorite phrase to hear as a senior – you have time to figure out what you want to do with your
life. As true as that is in a sense, don’t let that deter you from getting serious about your post college
life. Fortunately or unfortunately (after doing hardcore research on the subject) beer pong isn’t a job
and neither is sleeping in. If you’re a freshman or sophomore, start looking for internships early. If you
want to enjoy a summer or two studying abroad or just being able to lounge around before you’re
responsibilities require you to work all year around, try a semester internship that fits your schedule
while still devoting time to your studies. The more internships you have related to your
major on your resume, the more likely you are to look like an ideal fit for your dream job in the future.
A lot of internships are often more flexible than they look at first blush. They won’t all require you to be
a master latte maker and a copy machine pro.
One thing I have learned when searching for internships is that many companies desire to teach you skills
if you have valuable skills to offer them in return, even if they are working you to the bone.
But isn’t your future worth it?