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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Consider trying an internship if you can

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

College is meant to be the best years of your life. It’s a time to make friends, try new things, and enjoy being young while you can.

But in the midst of all the tortilla tossing and screaming at the sky, it can be easy to forget why you came to college in the first place. Getting a job after graduation isn’t exactly easy if you just have ultimate frisbee on your resume. 

And while it can be tempting to think you can walk right into a job with just a bachelor’s degree, it’s rarely that simple. For many jobs, connections have a huge role in deciding who to hire.

If you’re not lucky enough to have existing connections, internships can help get you foot in the door. In theory, employers are more likely to hire someone they know can work professionally than someone with no experience in that setting. 

Beyond that, internships are a chance to get a look at what daily life might be like in your chosen career field. Interning lets you ask employees what they enjoy about the job, dip your toe in the daily workload and try new experiences.

You might find that your dream career is all that you had hoped for. Alternatively, you could find that you actually hate working in that field and need to change degrees ASAP. It’s also a great chance to build practical skills you might not find in the classroom.

However, some would argue that many internships fail at this last point. The stereotype of the intern fetching coffee instead of learning new skills is a common one for a reason.

It’s true that some internships are likely to saddle you with mundane tasks. But this just means you should consider being selective. Asking other students or professors for internship recommendations can be a great way to avoid unhelpful ones.

Not all internships are created equal, and many border on being completely inaccessible to students from underprivileged backgrounds. 

Unpaid internships are simply not an option for any students that need to be earning income during school. And some would argue this creates a class barrier, especially for students pursuing creative fields.

At the end of the day, internships are far from perfect. Many are built to benefit a select handful of privileged students and some are a waste of time. But if you weigh your options and find one that fits, you might end up finding that dream job after all.

Malachi Spence Key is a journalism senior who can be reached at
[email protected]

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