Ode to the Internship

November 24, 2009 at 5:43 pm 2 comments

You accepted an intern position to learn real world skills and to put those classroom theories to the test? I am proud of you for seeking out learning opportunities in your chosen field. Wait, you’re still in school? Even better. Balancing a full course load, an internship, a part-time job and a social life is a great lesson in time management.

You may not get all the glory and recognition as an intern, but you can provide value by being an asset to the team. Believe it or not, the experience will be mutually beneficial if you put in the effort.

I thought it was standard practice for universities to emphasize the need for their students to have this experience. Before I moved to Chicago, I had four internships under my belt. I positioned myself to work in a public relations agency by focusing my internship experiences and gradually moving to larger and larger organizations. After graduation I accepted a post-grad internship with a global PR firm.

To my surprise, the majority of my fellow interns did not have prior agency experience. Some had not even held an internship position as an undergraduate. During my time at UNC-Chapel Hill, I worked at the campus bookstore, held internships and held leadership positions with several student organizations. My internships definitely supplemented my classroom education, and provided valuable learning experience. I did not understand why other schools were not emphasizing the importance of internships in their curriculum.

I know working at an internship and being a full-time student can be challenging. However, it is also a rewarding experience that will help you hone your time management skills and provide a great introduction to the “real world.” In exchange for helping to complete tasks and projects, you obtain real-life industry experience and will be exposed to the day-to-day functions at the firm. Hopefully you will earn a leg up on your resume with a reference or two for being such a rock star intern.

You’re not earning money for the work you are doing as an intern? So what. There is more to life than receiving a pay check as a student. I understand everyone’s situation is different, but if you are able to afford working at an unpaid internship, do it. The experience is far more rewarding than any job at a burger joint could offer. In my experience there are far more unpaid opportunities available than paid internship positions. Keep in mind that your school can only help you so much, and then it is up to you to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you.

Furthermore, an internship is a great time to expand your network. You’ll have the opportunity to make industry connections as a student. Don’t neglect your alumni network. People are usually more than willing to pay forward the help someone gave them when they were first starting out.

Go forth, students and recent graduates, and find the internship that is right for you. Kudos to you if you if you land an internship position! Double kudos if you find a paid internship!!

Cheers,

G

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cole Watts  |  February 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Gwynne,

    -Any suggestions on finding and getting an Internship. Like you, I’m interested in the Social Media field but I have already graduated? Sometimes I feel like a dope just sending out a resume/cover letter to another organization. Any suggestions?

    -Cole W.

    Reply
    • 2. Gwynne Murphy  |  February 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      Cole,

      Thank you for stopping by BOLD moves. I cannot stress the importance of networking enough. You can learn so much from your peers. I would recommend attending social media events, as well as informational interviews with industry professionals. Learning about other’s experiences will help you narrow your focus as you pursue a career that incorporates social media. Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

      Best of luck!
      Gwynne

      Reply

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