Internships: If you’re a college student, it’s likely you’ll need at least one to get your diploma. Even if you don’t need one to graduate, you should probably go out and find one anyway. I have quite a few posts explaining the ins and outs of internships which you can find here:
- Resume Tips
- How To Get An Internship: 5 Steps to Success
- How To Find Housing For An Internship
- How To Make A Good First Impression At Your Internship
If you’re reading this post the day its published, today is the last day of my internship. If it’s after July 7th, well, disregard that last statement. I was an e-commerce intern for a retail company, and it was such a rewarding experience. I spent 8 weeks in the suburbs of Chicago working with the retailer’s digital content team, learning everything from trend curation to coding basics. I could go on and on about my experience, but that’s not why you’re here. You’re here because you want to find out some lessons you learn during an internship! So let’s get going, shall we?
1. You will be treated with respect
It is highly unlikely that the internship you get will make you do meaningless tasks a la The Devil’s Wear Prada. Sadly, there are some bad ones out there, but a little bit of research will help you avoid those companies.
In all actuality, you will probably be treated with the same level of respect as a full-time employee. Employers know that you’re there to learn and grow as a professional, and they’re not about to take that opportunity away from you. As long as you respect your co-workers, they will respect you in return.
2. Working a 9-5 is actually kind of fun
Okay, just go with me here. Sure, you have to wake up early Monday through Friday, but it’s to go to a job in a field you (hopefully) love. It’s structured and you get to interact with peers during the day. The best part? No homework, essays, or exams. You have the structure of school without any of the after-hours work!
Sure, if you’re taking your internship for credit you may have to do some extra work. However, its nowhere near the amount you have to do during the school year!
3. If it’s unpaid, you will survive
I know a lot of people complain about how unfair unpaid internships are. While I agree it’s not the most ideal situation, you have to take it at face value. I guarantee that whatever you do at this internship will pay off in some way in the future!
If you do happen to get an unpaid internship, it’s important to start saving money early to prepare for your summer or semester without a salary. If you’re taking it for college credit, remember that there are student loans and other programs out there to help you out for the time being!
Oh, and by the way, all this is coming from someone who actually was an unpaid intern, so I have first-hand experience!
4. Companies are much more likely to hire a previous intern
Maybe the company you’re interning at isn’t going to offer you a full-time job waiting for you after graduation. That’s okay! You still have a higher chance than practically anyone else to get a position there when you’re looking for one. Companies value loyalty, and if you come back after graduating, they will move you to the front of the line.
5. You learn more from an internship than an entire semester at school
I’m not lying here, folks. Internships are the best way to learn, hands down. Sure, you might learn all the details of a subject in the classroom, but it doesn’t actually sink in until you experience it hands on.
Internships also give you the opportunity to learn something that you wouldn’t regularly cover in your studies. For instance, the apparel program at my university doesn’t touch much at all on e-commerce, but it’s a HUGE part of the fashion industry! By taking this internship, I was able to learn new skills that haven’t been offered to me in my 3 years of education.
Moral of this story: College tuition may cost $30,000 a year, but internships are priceless.
Have you had an internship? If so, what lessons did you learn from it? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!
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