Tue07072020

Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm

Opinion

Internships Influence Career Paths

As an upperclassman, I am gaining as much hands-on experience in my field as possible through my on-campus involvement and internships. My activities with school clubs have been a fun way not only to socialize with other students seeking a similar career path but also to gain quality experience in many different areas of interest within my field. 

However, my internship experiences have not met a lot of my expectations, and I am sure some other students can relate.  In fact, my internships were much less enjoyable than I would have hoped.  I could have walked away from them as soon as I started if I was offered a better opportunity.  However, I learned just as much through these poor experiences.

Our vision is always 20/20 when looking back, so I was able to find a lot of beneficial and positive advice for myself and others based on my negative experiences.

Before I begin my long rant, I want to give a very vital piece of advice to underclassmen: begin your search for an internship now.  Even if a company, organization, or business does not refer to it as an “internship,” volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door. 

Not only is it a resume booster, but you can develop important and long-lasting relationships with professionals and potential employers.  Networking cannot be emphasized enough during your early college years.

My summer internship was with a small health foundation near my hometown. I wanted to follow my passion for health and wellness and was thrilled to be in a hospital environment.  The foundation also had connections to a Wellness Center that had just opened, so I had every intention of learning what kind of public relations and writing was done for the entire foundation. 

My main goal upon beginning this internship was to spark an even greater inspiration to fulfill my passion for health and wellness public relations.  Although my passion remains, this internship only showed me the one-sided hospital-focused view of public relations and media work.

I was not able to gain more insight into the health and wellness aspect of the foundation, nor was I was able to utilize my skill and love for writing.  Aside from the monotonous day-to-day routine of updating the media list and sending out press releases, this summer experience did not meet much of my hopes. 

However, this internship taught me so many things about myself and my desired career that I would not have known if I hadn’t stuck it out for four months.  I realized that my true enjoyment lies within my ability to write and edit, two things I was not given the opportunity to pursue at the internship.  Since I was extremely limited to what I could write, I started my own blog which I maintain today.  This allows me to share my passion for health and wellness and expand on my writing skills.  I also recognized that my persistence and independence are two very important qualities that I developed. 

Since I wanted to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, I made sure to check in with my boss once a week to gather not only the duties she needed completed but also to see what other department areas could use my assistance.  I made her aware of my enthusiasm for learning.

If you can relate to a similar experience, reach out to your boss and let him or her know that you are interested in learning more.  It helped me grow into a more mature, responsible, and independent individual and emerging professional. 

My current fall internship is with a large corporation in New York City, much different than the small business in my little town in New Jersey.  I was ecstatic to start in September and to be able to put such a profound company on my resume.  Unfortunately, my high spirits for working in the city quickly diminished due to the three-hour round trip commute and nine-hour work days. 

This internship has thrown me into an entirely new lifestyle, one that I can honestly admit that I do not enjoy.  My long commute, quick meals, and fluctuating exercise schedule play a huge role on my poor experience especially since I am a health enthusiast.  This experience has helped me prioritize what is important in my life. 

My eating, sleeping, and exercise habits are a vital part of my lifestyle along with family time and working close to home.  I have had to sacrifice all of that for this internship, but it has taught me a lot about what to look for in my job search.  I need a healthy balance between work and the other aspects of my life.

Working in New York City three days a week also took away from my college experience.  This internship threw me straight into the real world, almost eliminating my experience as a college student.  I’m only on campus two days a week, and a majority of that time is spent working with my club, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). 

However, I would have never fully understood working in a city environment if I hadn’t taken this opportunity. 

Although my internship experiences have not directly benefited my career, they have allowed me to develop qualities and strengths along with a better sense of what is important when searching for a job. 

My healthy lifestyle is not something I am willing to sacrifice because of work, and I was able to recognize my true passion for wellness because of both internships.  I share that love and knowledge in my blog healthyhearthorriblehabits.blogspot.com. 

Understanding that negative experiences will occur, especially in your career, is the best way to move forward toward a better experience.

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