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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hit the bricks, not the beach

    If your summer vacation plans consist of swimsuits, flip-flops and a bounty of beaches to laze on, maybe you should rethink your priorities. While you’re lounging poolside in Mexico, someone else is working toward building their resume, and you’re being left behind.

    So what is this achiever doing that you’re not? This person is a student, just like you. They’re taking the same classes, getting roughly the same grades, putting in the same amount of work. What do they have on their resume that’s so much better than yours?

    The much anticipated, much dreaded and highly competitive internship.

    Internships are a win-win and everyone should get one. In regards to timing, the sooner you snatch one up, the better.

    Unfortunately, though a number of internships pay their workers with either a stipend or a salary, many don’t. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about them and move on.

    What internships lack in monetary compensation, they make up for in experience and networking opportunities.

    According to Beth Braccio Hering from CareerBuilder.com, the benefits of internships for undergraduates include everything from the opportunity to test out careers to possible college credit. Through internships, students often find mentors, gain invaluable skills and, at the very least, obtain some experience to put on their resume, which never hurts.

    Students who have had internships during their undergraduate or graduate careers generally transition more easily into professional environments. According to i-to-i.com, internships give students confidence, essentially bringing them from “Maybe I can do that” to “Absolutely, I can do that!” Internships provide real work practice in a time when graduating doesn’t cut it anymore and it takes three to five years of experience to get that paycheck.

    Students aren’t the only ones benefitting from internships, either. Internship programs help potential employers get an idea of how a student would fit in the workplace. Employers pitch their company to the future working generation and get necessary work done in exchange for providing real-world experience.

    But it’s not just about the experience. In many cases, internships turn into careers. My cousin, who will be graduating this May, worked an IT internship this past summer that offered him a very high-paying full-time job almost immediately. His hard work and dedication to the company, which included playing for the soccer team, proved he was a good employee and the kind of guy who could really benefit the company.

    “Think of it as a really long interview,” i-to-i.com says, “after which you’ve proved that you are a capable and hardworking employee.”

    If you’re not working at an internship, there’s a blank space next to your resume under “work ethic.”

    So maybe you want to spend your summer at the beach, hiking in the Rockies or writing that novel you’ve been putting off. Maybe you don’t care about experience and want to wait as long as possible to enter the real world.

    But while you’re doing all that fun stuff, I’ll be working in a corporate internship; maybe answering phones, maybe getting coffee and maybe even doing some research. But when the time comes for us to fight over a job, I’ll be proudly waving around my portfolio while you’ll be searching your pockets for anything to give you some edge. And I’m going to win.

    Let me tell you, as someone who flipped burgers for a year in high school, that’s not the real world you want to enter. So get off your butt and get an internship before all of them are taken and you’re stuck getting other people’s coffee for a living. It can happen. Be prepared.

    Kasey Shores is a journalism sophomore. Follow her @kaseyshores.

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