An internship lets you experience work outside the walls of your classrooms. It is an opportunity for you to apply the skills you have learned in school (you have, right?) and meet colleagues from different backgrounds. You have also been waiting for this day to come because, finally, you can earn some money on your own!
But internships can get difficult and nerve-wracking, too—especially because this is the first time you’re stepping away from being a student and into the real world as you pursue your dream career. You can overcome these worries by thinking ahead and being clear on what you want to get out of the experience.
Here are 3 things to consider while planning your internship.
1. Ask yourself why you want to apply for that internship.
“When students are already in their third or fourth year of college, they seek internships. So I should, too.”
This is not necessarily the case. Some schools require internships in their curriculum, while some do not. If you belong to the latter, you could consider resting for the rest of the summer and making up for your sleepless nights.
If it’s a practicum requirement, go for it. Just remember that you don’t need to tag along with your friends all the time. Internships are avenues for you to grow, and as much as you value your friendship, you should do the same on your quest for passion and purpose. Explore your field and be open to new experiences—and people!
2. ICYDK: There are paid and unpaid internships.
Truth hurts. There are some internships that pay little or provide no compensation to interns at all. Basically, the employer will “pay” you with the knowledge and experience you will have in their company.
On the other hand, there are companies who offer salaries and allowances. If you’re lucky enough to be accepted to one of these, save your money and then spend the rest of it wisely.
Re: Unpaid internships—“What if I don’t have summer allowance?”
Don’t worry! There are still options for you: Choose another company that offers a salary for interns, break your piggy bank, or get “help” from your parents.
If you really want to work for a company that unfortunately offers unpaid internships, then you have to go for the third option. Who knows, your parents might give you the allowance you need for food and transportation.
Note: Give this much thought especially if you are a student living in a dormitory for the summer. Remember that you still have rent, electric bills, and water bills to pay.
3. Do you have enough internship-worthy clothes?
Most internships require you to look like a professional for around three months. Don’t worry too much about having to buy lots of new clothes. You can always mix and match your tops and bottoms and let your creativity decide what you wear. And good news: Not all firms have dress codes!
At the end of the day, remember that your performance at work matters more than your sleek top.
As early as now, keep in mind that what you are about to enter is an actual job experience and your excuses of being “just a student” will not work anymore.
These reminders will only guide you halfway through your internship journey. The rest is up to you.
Have fun and learn as much as you can! You will make mistakes and that’s okay. It will open a door of opportunities and connections in your chosen field no matter what!
Need more tips on navigating your way through college? Find more information on college applications, courses and university life here.