by Brittany Collins, NABJ-IUB Graduate Advisor
So I might be preaching to the choir on this one, but just say, “amen,” and spread the good news to your peers. Internships are something that advisers and upper-class students alike drag encourage their friends to do, but I still find so many who haven’t or wait until graduation comes knocking to take advantage of them. No judgement if you had other pressing things to handle like staying academically sound or supporting yourself or others financially, but even in those cases there are opportunities to gain valuable experiences that aide you short and long-term.
“Why do I care?,” you might ask. Well, I encourage you to revisit my previous blog. I was approaching the end of my internship at DePauw University, trying to shed light on how to maximize your summer experience. Fast forward exactly seven months, and I’m now employed full-time in that same office as the new internship coordinator (I know, I know.) According to the National Association of College and Employers 2015 survey data, approximately 57 percent of students who participate in internships receive at least one job offer after graduation, compared to 37 percent who didn’t participate in any before graduation. Now, internships don’t automatically equal jobs, but it can increase your marketability. Plus, if you effectively networked while you’re there, you have an expanded support group that can provide professional feedback and possible leads on your next move.
Internships are also your chance to explore and make mistakes. I can’t just bat these b
rown doe eyes and say, “Whoops,” if I mess up at work now. I’m held to an elevated level of responsibility that thankfully my summer internship has prepared me for. Please, leave Indiana. Also, go somewhere new! The state has been great to me, but I often tell students that they can always return to the Heartland afterwards. Life gets real after graduation, so the sooner you can experiment with relocation the better. Plus, with an internship you’re barely committing to two months in this new locale. If you don’t like it, cross it off the list and pick a new destination for the next one.
The same rule goes for different types of organizations. Test out working in a small start-up environment versus a large organization with hundreds of branches. Basically, do all the things through internships, so you can have a more solid understanding of what kind of professional you want to be, and who you want to do it for–or maybe you decide to go it alone as an entrepreneur. You won’t know until you try!