(Click here for the first part of this series on Academic Internships, “How to prepare.”)
As with anything good, there can be some trying to take advantage. Make sure that no one is taking advantage of you in your internship. Here are tips on what to look for during your internship program.
What’s the worst that can happen?
To be frank, Brian Frenette, Associate Director of Employer Programs of Yale University’s Center for International and Professional Experience responded,
“The worst that can happen is that someone participates in an internship they do not like and they learn what area/job function/industry they are most certainly not interested in. This, ultimately, is very valuable information”.
The whole purpose of enrolling in an internship, especially a private school internship, is for someone to gain some experience in what they are most interested in. Not all jobs will suit everyone and an internship gives students a small glimpse into what their future may be like if they were to apply for such a job. Ultimately, as Robert Pierce, the Community Engagement and Placement Coordinator of California State University in Fullerton stated, “an internship should be an opportunity for you to learn”. Internships provide the chance to not only find what you like but also what you don’t want to pursue as a career. But there are some dangers to avoid with internships as Mr. Pierce noted,
“…the traditional view of the intern is someone who generally “helps out” and does busy work such as filing, data entry, coffee runs etc. I work each day trying to dispel this traditional view and help organizations offering internships to understand that they are educational opportunities.”
Students should consider the above statement if they are applying to internships for academic credit and immediately alert their internship office if this situation occurs. Internship work will often involve more “clerical” work but students should insure they are also engaged in other ways to make the most of their internship experience.
Overall internships, although not perfect, offer real-world experience for students to try out on their own.
Next week we’ll be more positive, and give advice on when to know you are in a good internship.
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