“What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
“How do I know if I am in the right major?”
“Am I even good at what I’m studying?”
“I like what I’m learning, but what kinds of jobs are in my field?”
As a college student, you may have found yourself asking at least one of these questions. Thinking about graduating and moving out into the “real world” to look for a “big kid job” can quickly become a series of overwhelming thoughts you’d rather put back into the depths of your mind until those events take place.
Fret not! One of the perks of being a college student is the opportunity to jump into an internship. Whether you have considered interning somewhere, or if the thought has not yet crossed your mind, internships can greatly help in answering the scary questions that come with life after graduation.
When asked why students should look into interning somewhere, Molly Rupert, Assistant Professor of Communication at Simpson University, explained how crucial internships during undergraduate years can be for success later in life:
“If knowledge is power then internships are even more important for college students. An internship allows students to ‘try’ a career and gain invaluable, hands-on knowledge in a chosen field. The work a student does in an internship can complement classroom learning and give students unparalleled experience for their resume.”
Knowing an internship is important, and actually finding one are two completely different subjects. Many students desire to intern, but have no idea where to begin looking, nor do they have an idea of what platforms to use. Rupert continues in answering where to look for an internship:
“There are many ways to find internships, but the first step is knowing what field of study. Are you interested in building ships? How about working for the local news station? Does teaching second grade interest you? Once you figure out a field of study, start talking to people who actually work in that field. Make connections with those individuals and ask if they know of any internships. There are countless ways to connect with others - Facebook, Twitter, email - or simply call them. If you’re not able to do that, talk to your professors. It’s highly likely that they know someone in that field or know someone who knows someone. Also, companies often contact the school or a specific professor requesting interested students. Google it! Run an internet search for internships in that field. There is usually a contact name and number to get started.”
Allison Welling, a 2016 graduate from Simpson, held two internships - one with a politician and one as a freelance writer for the Farm Bureau. She stated, “I really enjoyed both internships because they gave me insight into some career opportunities that I was considering pursuing. They also did a lot to help me feel included and involved. While working for Brian Dahle I was able to go to the Capitol and legislative events. Interning also helped get me out into the community and allowed me to network for the future. I think that is what makes internships most helpful for college students: being able to network and explore a career field without the big commitment of it actually being a career. If you have an area that you are interested in, I would recommend contacting businesses in your field of interest and ask if they have an internship program. Or browse your businesses of interests’ websites. Simpson also has several options for students."
Finding an internship can shed light on whether you are in the right major, what it looks like to work in your field, adds excellent criteria to your resume, and the list goes on. With little to lose and a lot to gain, why not give it a shot?