University internships provide job experience

By Tai Adebowale

For any individual seeking employment, the experience he or she has is a big factor during the interview and hiring process. Most employers want to know the person they are hiring already has some previous skills, and for college students, these skills can come from an internship.

According to the information on the Career Center Web site, “Internships are a form of experimental education, and experimental education is an opportunity to learn by doing the job.”

“Internships are really important because it helps develop different skills before one goes into the work field,” said Joshua Dahms, a career consultant at the University Career Center. “And it is a chance for exploration, a chance to get into a firm and decide if that is really what you want to do as a future career.”

Numerous University departments and programs offer internships during the school year.

John Lim, a senior in molecular and cellular biology, is serving a Turner Fellow Internship in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The Student Affairs office is responsible for providing different programs and services for students at the University.

Students should not accept only internships related to their field, he suggested.

“Although you may think that an internship with Student Affairs and an MCB major has nothing to do with each other, I have found many similarities,” Lim said. “Both require a great deal of organization as well as dedication. They both require a lot of personal drive to keep yourself on task with projects as a Turner Fellow and with assignments and research with MCB.”

Although internships give a hands-on experience of the future, not having an internship does not mean a lifetime without a job in your chosen field.

“There are a lot of ways to have (make) yourself remarkable to employers,” Dahms said. For example, participating in volunteer activities, being an active participant of organizations, getting good grades and so on, all of these counts toward getting a job.

In other words, there are other factors that count toward getting hired for a job, not just internships.

It is not only about taking part in an internship, students also have to ensure that they make the most of it.

“One of the things that I’ve learned from this internship so far is just to be more independent,” Lim said. “Coming in, I was unaware of how much the projects and completing (of) tasks involved my own initiative. The internship has really made me more independent and an internally driven person.”

Dahms advises that taking an internship that may not seem to pertain to your major or future career can still be helpful.

Using skills you learn through an internship can come in handy down the line, he added.

The University’s Career Center offers additional resources and information on internships.