Internships can be life-changers

University of Alaska Fairbank

Megan Robinson, staff writer

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Doing an internship is the perfect way to put what you’ve learned in class to use and experience the career field you are going into.

Upon entering college, some students make the mistake of just choosing a major that feels like a good fit. They work hard to earn a degree in that major; and then when they enter the world of work, they realize that the field they chose is not what they thought it was. And then they want to find a new career. An internship can save them from making that mistake.

“I didn’t want an internship when I was first assigned one because I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but interning at the aquarium in Charleston changed that for me,” Mary Reeves, sophomore biology major, said.

Reeves wants to become an aquatic biologist, and she worked at the South Carolina Aquarium over the summer.

A new study shows that 60 percent of the time an internship will turn into a job offer, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

“Internships are the reason I am where I am now. They were everything to my college experience because not only did they give me the confidence to showcase my talents in a professional setting, they showed me what I didn’t want to do in life,” Lydia Royals, communications associate at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, said.

Royals is an alumna of Columbia College who originally wanted to be a journalist and worked as an intern at The State newspaper her junior year.

“Finding out what wasn’t for me was just as valuable as finding the career I love,” Royals said. She found that print journalism wasn’t for her and interned at the Sisters of Charity the following year where she eventually accepted a job offer. She has been employed there for two years.

There are so many life-long benefits to having one or more internships in college. Internships offer the opportunity to gain the real-world exposure that employers seek in a candidate.

“I can overlook job experience if a candidate sends in a resume that includes an internship where the work connects to the job at hand,” Mark Thomas, hiring recruiter for BlueCross BlueShield, said. “It is all about the skills that person has gained. If they made no attempts to gain the necessary skills that they only learned about in college, why would I hire them?”

Internships provide the opportunity to build up a professional network.

“Internships have been one of the most important aspects of undergrad for me because I met so many people who were doing what I wanted to do,” Kara Anderson, senior writing for print and digital media major, said. “Through my internship with different social justice organizations, I got to participate in protests and document a movement.”

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