Real World Experience: Why You Should Intern In College

College may be little more than a four-year party to some, but for many it’s a time to learn new things, meet new people, and live independently. Students tend to hold their undergraduate years in such high esteem that they often end up calling them the best four years of their lives. Yet upon graduation, many still feel surprisingly ill prepared to venture out into the “real world”. Even those students who graduate with a high GPA can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of the professional world, making them wonder if their academic accomplishments were ever worthwhile.

 If you’re looking for a manual on how to succeed in the real world, you have come to the wrong place. However, here’s one valuable piece of advice that may alleviate some stress once you graduate: find an internship.


  Interning in college is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your future.  An internship can open up a variety of networking opportunities and can provide you with valuable work experience in your intended field. It may also help you in determining whether the field you’ve chosen is right for you. Sure, the typical life of an intern may not be the professional life you imagined, but for what it’s worth, you could be taking a small step towards landing the job of your dreams.

Getting a taste of the real world while you’re still in school may seriously pay off in the long run.

Whether it’s mastering a certain skill, learning how to interact with coworkers, or finding ways to score points with your boss, an internship is a great way to break into the occupation of your choice without dealing with the crippling pressure of a year-round job. As college students, our summer and winter breaks provide great opportunities to work full-time. While you may be tempted to sit at home and lounge around during your time off, do yourself a favor and go find an internship. You’ll be glad you did it.

Why Internships Are Vital

Each year, millions of students graduate college with a bright future in mind, knowing that they have taken the first major step in finding a lifelong career. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will find that career in the next month or even the next year. A recent article published by USA Today stated that unemployment for college graduates is at its highest point since 1970. At the beginning of 2011, the Jobless rate for college grads was right around 5.1%. In that same time frame, there were 2.4 million people who were unemployed but had earned their bachelors degree or higher.

Things don’t seem very promising for people (like me) who are in their final semester of college. However, it’s important to understand that the unemployment rate of college graduates is less than half of the unemployment rate of non-graduates, which is currently hovering around 10%. Students who graduate with a Master’s degree or Doctoral degree aren’t immune to this phenomenon. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, In August 2011, 4.6% of graduates age 25 and up with a Bachelor’s degree or higher are unemployed. The fact that the group is made up of people ages 25 and up signals that most of that group completed or are currently working on post-graduate studies.

In today’s competitive job market, it’s particularly important to complete an internship or even more than one. Internships offer many benefits, such as experience, knowledge in a certain field of study, and meeting professionals in your industry. Not to mention that if you prove yourself at your internship, you could be offered a full-time job. If nothing else, you will more than likely find references who can help you take your next step forward on your career path, whatever that might be.

Some Internship’s are unpaid, however whether paid or unpaid, they provide essential knowledge and experience, and contacts to add to your resume. Interns provide a company with fresh faces, prepared to do any kind of work and do it right. Some majors require internships as a graduation requirement, which is a good thing if you ask me. It can’t hurt a student or recent graduate to gain valuable working skills and experience, while along the way meeting professionals who play a fundamental role in a workplace community.

The bottom line here is that Internships are a way for young people to get their foot in the door in an industry. They are a good way to provide young graduates and soon-to-be graduates with the things necessary for finding a job in these tough economic times.




I’m reading New Perspectives on Microsoft Office 2010 

Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships are a great way to get experience in your field of study. They are also a good way to get a step ahead of other graduates.  Over the years, I have participated in several unpaid internships. Some were glorified grunt work positions. Others were great opportunities–I got to take pictures at the Kentucky Derby which were later published in an international magazine. I think unpaid internships are wonderful! However, not everybody has the means to work for free. I’ve had several friends pass up unpaid internships to wait tables. Can you really blame them? It’s darn near impossible to completely live off financial aid/student loans. Unfortunately, my friends will be at a disadvantage when it comes time to find a “big boy” job.

Unpaid Internship

Should I feel bad that I am able to take an unpaid internship?

I’ve been heckled for taking unpaid internships in the past,  “You are so spoiled because your parents pay for everything. You don’t even have to get paid for your work.” These ludicrous statements make me want to scream. I would never walk up to a person who is paying their own way through college and say, “Your parents are lazy bums because they don’t have enough money to help you through college.” It is just cruel, and in my opinion both of these statements hit below the belt. Yet people continue to belittle me for coming from a wealthy family; I don’t think it is something that should be held against me.  The reality is that I have worked consistently since I was 15 years old. My first job was at Subway and I spent an entire summer making sandwiches for thousands of people. I’ve had a healthy stream of part-time jobs since then and I don’t plan to stop working anytime in the future.

I have had  several unpaid internships while I have been in college.  I have worked for a photographer, a magazine and now a textbook company. Each internship has taught me something new and useful that I can take with me for the rest of my life. Why should I feel even a little guilty for taking the opportunity to get this experience? What good is a crappy minimum wage job that has absolutely no benefit for my future career? I can understand how some people may see the world of unpaid internships as an unfair advantage for students who are more fortunate. But I also think it is totally unfair that people are judged for taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them. If you’re able to, why wouldn’t you get the experience needed for your dream job?

Although I have been the subject of friends’ ridicule, I have never felt guilty for taking advantage of unpaid internships. While some of my classmates are graduating with no experience in their chosen field whatsoever;  I am able to graduate with REAL job experience. Whether my internships have paid off or not–it remains to be seen. I graduate in the fall and hope that my internships will give me the resume experience I need to get my dream job.



I’m reading Elementary Statistics