Internships allow students to gain firsthand experience in a real-life business setting. Not only will their work benefit the company, business, or organization they’re working for, but it will also benefit the student by providing life experiences, communication skills, and client, employer, and employee relationships. Internships also increase student networking, which is crucial in setting up potential future employment opportunities.
The Beginning Process
Visit the Center for Career and Civic Engagement for help with creating your resume. This will ensure that your format is correct and professional in all aspects. After your resume is complete, create an account on the Hound Hire Link, found on the Amos homepage. The Hound Hire Link is a pretty crucial tool that helps most students connect with internship opportunities and even future employers! Make sure to thoroughly research the company, business, or organization prior to your interview with them. Having background knowledge on your chosen company will give you a good advantage and make you stand out from other potential candidates. Go to the Center for Career and Civic Engagement for tips on how to prep for the interview!
Once You’ve Been Accepted
After being accepted (congratulations!), you’ll want to organize a meeting with your supervisors, if they have not done so first. This initial meeting is when supervisors will discuss what will be expected of you and what sort of tasks and assignments they will ask of you for the duration of your internship. If you are completing an internship with other interns, arrange a meeting with them as well and start a group chat of some form. You may also find it beneficial to create a Google calendar to insert your individual schedules and enable editing for all so you can see who’s free when. The rest of the work is going to be up to you, your supervisors, and your academic advisor who oversees the academic component to your internship.
The Academic Component
Yes, even with internships there is still an academic component that goes along with the real-life work. This is mainly to keep track of how you’re doing in your internship and what your experiences have been like so far. Usually, the academic component is not nearly as taxing as a typical college class. For example, some college professors may require a weekly journal to keep track of your progress. Others might hold weekly meetings with your specific internship cohort group (those completing a similar internship within the same field) and hold group discussions. These academic components are up to the academic advisor and will vary from department to department.
Dealing With Discrepancies and Disagreements
No workplace is perfect, and that’s a fact. There will always be some point in your career when you will run into disagreements of some sort. If you feel that there’s a problem in the workplace, speak up! Most of the time, the other person in question does not even realize they might be causing a stir amongst the other interns and will often respond to a friendly confrontation in a positive manner. If you do find the need to bring up a problem with a fellow intern, be sure to approach them in a polite and open manner in a setting where the two of you can speak comfortably, (for example, perhaps in the Afterwords Cafe over a cup of coffee.) Make sure you start off with the positives. Begin with something like this: “I’ve really enjoyed working with you and seeing our progress grow during this internship. I think it’s great that we’re getting this experience and opportunity. However, there’s something I’d like to speak with you about because I only want us to succeed in fulfilling our obligations as interns.” Give the other intern a chance to change. After a week or two, if things still have not improved, then bring the situation to attention to your supervisors. By telling them you’ve already met with the other intern one on one first and gave them time to improve, your supervisors will be impressed with the professional way you handled the situation and will appreciate you took the initiative and tried to solve the problem first before coming to them.
There are some extenuating that may require exceptions to the standard internship rules. For example, in my case, because I was a sophomore when I completed my first internship, I needed to get a signature of approval from the Associate Provost and a letter of approval from the internship coordinator. Other exceptions to general rules include a GPA not meeting the requirements, earned credits that are below the required credit amount, or if you are already taking 4 class credits. These are special exceptions that need to be cleared by a professor and by the Associate Provost in order to proceed with the internship application. It is not impossible to obtain an internship even if you are already enrolled in 4 class credits. You just have to jump through some hoops first. The maximum amount of credits a student is allowed to take is 5 credits. A student enrolled in 4 units may take a half credit internship. Whether this internship counts towards their major is dependent upon the department.
Good news! There are opportunities to get paid for the work you do! Some internships are sponsored by community partnerships which offer a stipend for specific internships. For example, the Chamber of Commerce has a stipend of $1,250. There are also $1,000 summer internship stipends available. If you are interested in completing one of these, set up an interview with a potential on-site advisor from the company and make sure you are accepted first. Then, go to the Career Center and speak with the staff. They will provide you with the paperwork for a stipend internship.
While applying for an internship may seem daunting, don’t let these restrictions intimidate you! It’s not as hard as it seems to obtain an internship. All you need is the drive and motivation to make an appointment at the Center for Career and Civic Engagement, sign up on the Hound Hire Link and apply! Internships are an essential part of the college experience in which students are faced with real world situations and dilemmas. Last word of advice for those looking to land an internship: start applying right away and get going!