For high school and college students, internships are always mentioned to them. “Completing an internship will help you stand out in the long run,” or “If you do this internship you will learn so much!” are just some things that may have been discussed regarding this topic. But as you think about doing an internship or not, you may wonder, is it really worth it? Some people think yes, while others disagree. Here is our take on it!
There are many benefits to completing an unpaid or paid internship. For starters, you gain work experience. Internships allow students to see what having a professional career is like. From there you begin to pick up skills that will carry with you through the rest of your studies. Next, some internships allow you to receive college credit or even high school credit. You need to make sure that you are able to receive credit by asking questions too see if your internship qualifies. Another benefit is the networking opportunity that you are submerged into. Now that you are around professionals, it is easy to strike up a conversation within the company. This allows you to not only get to know your coworkers more but also potentially find a business connection for you to utilize in the future.
Confidence slowly increases as time passes with your internship. When you first start out you may be intimidated because you are learning and adapting to a professional experience however, once your internship is complete your confidence is boosted regardless if you liked the position or not. Lastly, some internships lead to job offers. Although you may not be anticipating an offer, if you work hard and show interest, an offer may come your way. It is important to note that not all internships lead to an offer. If this happens, realize that you now know if that type of career path is for you. If an offer did not occur, note that you have experience in that industry that will help you when looking for a job in the future.
There are a couple downsides to internships. If you are looking to be paid it can be hard to secure a paid internship. This is something you need to consider when looking. Can I afford to accept an unpaid internship? For some people who are more financially independent, it is hard to take a pay cut especially when most internships do not produce job offers afterwards. Next, often the work that you are doing at your internship is not allowing yourself to grow within your time there. In other words, you are completing tasks that can be looked at as ‘mindless’. If someone is completing tasks like this, you may feel as if your time is not valued and you may end up not liking the internship.
When exactly is the internship taking place? Is it spring, summer, fall? For most, summer internships are the best option for them because it fits best into their schedule. Without the extra stress of school or extracurricular activities, this allows the individual to really be focused during their internship. Fall and spring internships are also a great option especially if you can manage your other commitments that you have. Keep in mind that some companies only offer internships during certain times of the year. If you are looking for a specific internship, make sure you do your research and see when that company has their internships so you can apply during the application period.
Based on the individual, this will determine if it is ‘worth it’. For someone who may be more financially independent or a student athlete, taking an unpaid internship may not be viable for them. Another take away is to realize that completing either an unpaid or paid internship (if it fits within your schedule) allows that individual to learn and experience within a professional atmosphere. This entail helps that individual to recognize if they like that type of work or not. Overall, internships are a great option to take advantage of as long as you feel comfortable and think you will benefit from it given your personal situation.
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