What is an Internship, Really?
Since all hell broke loose with the US economy back in 2007, internship has become the latest job market buzzword. The more this term is tossed around, the more confusion builds around what an internship actually is.
If you think an internship is a shoe-in for a sweet office job once the summer is over, or an ideal position for someone who loves making Starbucks runs, or a term employers use to scam free work out of unsuspecting post-grads, you are so wrong.
As someone who has held multiple internships (ahem, yes multiple), I’ll lay out for you what a real internship is and why you may want one, or two, or three…
What is an internship? It’s a chance.
- a chance to build experience in a field you’re interested in. You wouldn’t become a stock trader if your passion is in marine science, so why would you seek out an internship in an industry you’re not personally interested in? The second you stop learning or caring, you know you’re in the wrong place. Internship should not associated with waste of time.
- a chance to make mistakes. This doesn’t mean blow off the details, it means take big chances and try something new.
- a chance to find your niche. You know you like baking, but you didn’t know you loved creating interesting cupcake flavors or had a passion for cannolis until you started an internship at your favorite bakery. Discover what makes you happy.
- a chance to validate your passion. Show your industry that you’re there to make a difference and do big things. Make a splash and people will notice. Don’t just impress your boss, impress yourself.
Yes, you may be a little broke during your internship, you may be a little tired, you may not know exactly what you’re doing, but if everything is handed to you how are you going to grow? You only get one chance in this life, so go big and run with it.
Go find an internship somewhere you want to work, not just the next place that posts an ad, and work your butt off. Don’t get your hopes up that you’ll land your own clothing line after a week like LC on The Hillls, but if you work hard you’ll create a network of contacts, build your experience and find your passion.
Want to know more about me and my experience with internships? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my LinkedIn, I’d love to answer your questions!
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