An internship is an extremely valuable experience that you shouldn’t just pass up because you aren’t sure of things. You may not realize it now, but an internship actually has the potential to change your life.
Doing an internship is the best way to get your feet wet in the industry you are hoping to work in. You’ve probably already held a couple jobs, but those jobs probably weren’t in your field of study. An internship is the best way to learn first-hand what a job in your field will be like.
Interns are often at the bottom of the food chain in a work environment, but they get to see for themselves exactly how the business is run. You’ll connect with new people, and see what an industry looks like from the inside. People at marketing agencies have a unique perspective on the billboards and magazine ads you see every day. People at health care facilities understand the science behind making people well. Seeing your industry from this perspective can teach you a lot.
As you experience the job, you may find that you love it or you hate it. If you love it, you know you’ve chosen a major that will serve you well. You may also find certain areas of an industry that you like more than others, so you can focus your studies more.
For example, if you have aspirations of becoming a police officer, an internship at a law enforcement agency can help you get an inside look at the opportunities you have. You may decide that you no longer want to be a police officer, but a security guard, or a TSA agent. As you do your internship, you will probably get insight on which direction you want to guide your career.
On the other hand, if you hate your internship experience, and it’s due to the nature of the work, it’s better to find out while you’re still in school so you can change your major. If you intern as a computer programmer, you may find that it’s not really your thing, and decide to change your major to graphic design. There’s nothing wrong with changing your plans. In fact, using an internship to influence your area of study is an extremely smart thing to do.
One of the best things you can do for your career is work as an intern. No matter what industry you are in, find a part-time job or internship that can give you the insight you need to shape your future.