Intern season is coming to an end. College students across the country that have landed their dream internship are scrambling to make a lasting impression.
There are hundreds of articles online that give their best tips for landing that dream internship. However, what those articles don’t tell you is how the internship will benefit you, outside of just adding a bullet on your resume.
I am currently participating in a summer internship, and it has already taught me more than any classroom ever has. When I applied, I didn’t think I had the slightest chance of landing it. It was 1,000 miles away from home and before this, I didn’t even own a single pair of slacks. Much to my surprise, I got it. I had a sense of panic take over because I didn’t know how I would survive in a big city, and I felt like I would be in way over my head. I doubted myself and prayed every night until I started that I wouldn’t crash and burn.
Now that my time is coming to an end, I know it was the best decision I could have made. I decided to compile a list of 6 things that happen when you take an internship– all things I wish somebody would’ve told me.
1. You become independent and appreciate your existing relationships even more.
My friends are my rock. I love them to pieces and wouldn’t trade them for the world. Parting with them for the summer can be tough, but it makes you appreciate them more when you do get to talk to them or see them.
You also become even more of your own person than before. You don’t have your mom right by your side or your best friend to take notes for you if you skip class. Everything is your responsibility. I have gotten to know myself better than I ever have. I have had all the time in the world to focus on becoming the best version of myself that I can be and figuring out what truly makes me happy.
2. You get to experience more and want to experience more.
You’ve always known more is out there, but it’s easy to stay within the 15 mile radius of all your favorite places at home. Anything that is a huge risk allows you to experience more. If you leave home and go somewhere new, there’s so much exploring to be done. You’ll meet people from all over the country, perhaps even other countries, and the networking opportunities are amazing.You’ll find new favorite coffee shops and you get to experience everything from a different perspective. You’ll quickly learn that a different city in the same country can be so different than your hometown. You’ll get this itch to explore the world. It’s frightening, but in a good way.
3. You gain confidence.
I have struggled with confidence for several years. Many people who know me know that this is an ongoing battle. I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I would even get the internship. Now that I am here, I have been fortunate enough to work with the most supportive individuals who value my ideas and give me positive feedback. Even if I do something wrong, instead of attacking me, they give me advice in a positive way that motivates me to work even harder. After all, you are there to learn. Learning these skills hands-on will give you confidence in applying for future jobs or graduate programs.
4. It’s a trial.
Taking an internship gives you the opportunity to figure out what you like. Maybe you thought that this was your dream job and you get in there and absolutely hate it. Maybe you thought it was your destiny to end up in a big city, but once you get there you miss small-town life. Taking an internship will allow you to test your feelings for both the city, company, and profession you are working for. If you’re like me, maybe you discover what you really want to major in. It opened up the door to new interests and talents that I would have never known I possessed.
5. You will make mistakes.
This one is huge. I am a perfectionist in the sense that I want to do the best job and blow people away the first time I do anything. I am that person that never had to study much and am crushed if I get a C. In the real world, it’s different. You aren’t sitting in a classroom reading or typing away on your computer. You will make mistakes and be confused about things that are seemingly simple things for full time employees. That’s okay! You are there to learn in a different environment and the other employees will give you guidance.
My advice: Apply for as many internships as possible.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Apply even if you think the opportunity is out of your reach.You may end up surprising yourself. Also, try not to get caught up in the details of taking an internship in another city. There are housing opportunities specifically for interns. All you have to do is take the plunge, and it will all work.
After that, it can and will be one of the best things to happen to you and your young career.
Take it from somebody who knows, and who couldn’t be happier for that fact.