When you hear the word internship what is the first thing that you do? Do you think about all the positive things that can happen from getting one and gaining experience? Do you get excited about going through the application and hiring process? Well, for me, and I’m sure for a lot of you out there, that is not what you are thinking about at all. Personally, when I think about internships I start to break out in a cold sweat and the initial panic begins. The pressure to get an internship is something that is very prevalent and it’s something that does not get talked about enough. Searching for internships is time consuming, stressful, and confusing, and I’m here today to tell you that if you’re stressed out about your internship search, you are not alone.
One of the things that can be the most stressful about finding an internship is the constant feeling of someone breathing down your neck. Some majors have an internship built into their curriculum so you have to obtain one to graduate. So, that means at some point you are going to have to get one, no questions asked. Then your professors tell you how beneficial they are, they will stand in front of the class and tell you stories from their own internship experience. Let’s top that off with constant emails from people higher up about internship opportunities that are opening up and how you should compete with a large pool of fellow students when you apply. Then to make it extra special you have your mom and dad sending you email links to internship applications and telling you, you need to get it together. Now, some of that might not be true for you, but even if you are experiencing some of these you are sitting in the pressure cooker that is the search for internships. As college students we have a lot of things going on. We have our classes, clubs, jobs, social lives, and, when we have the time, we like to sleep. So, it is honestly hard to find the time to look through the “hidden job market” to find an internship we qualify for or that relates to our major or interests. Then, when you have people consistently telling you how important they are, you feel like you HAVE to start searching for them and add another thing on your already full plate. It’s exhausting.
Now, let’s talk about why the internship process is so time consuming. The first part is searching for the internship, which is not as easy as you would ever think it would be. You have to make professional and personal connections because by knowing more people there is a larger chance you will know somebody who can help you find a position somewhere. Don’t have any connections or don’t have any connections who can help? Go to the job fairs and find companies you are interested in. Still don’t have connections? Then you have to scour the Internet and hope that you find something that interests you. If you don’t know exactly what you want out of an internship it can be SO hard to know what you’re looking for. If you have a major that is not specific or is hard to find an internship for, then it is so hard to know what you want out of your internship experience. Say you do find an internship that really interests you, you then have to tune up your resume and cover letter. Thankfully, we have a lot of people at C&IS who can help you through this process, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not time consuming. Next you submit your application and you have to wait and stress about whether you are going to be given an interview or not. Then you have to prepare for said interview, which C&IS can also help you with. You have to do a lot on your own, but there are people to help you as well. And let me tell you, they LOVE to help you. It’s what they’re here for!
I am not trying to scare you about internships, they are very rewarding and insightful experiences that everyone really should have. I just wanted to take the time to tell you that if you are scared, or if you feel pressure, or you have a lot of questions, you aren’t alone! We, as college students, are all going through a similar experience and we should be able to openly talk about our fears and stressors. Internships are a huge deal and there are so many people who want to help you through this process, you just have to be proactive in your experience to get the most out of it. I hope now the next time you talk about internships you don’t break out in a cold sweat, or if you do, that’s okay. Just remember that there is help and that you can do this!
Of Possible Interest:
- How to Break Down a Job/Internship Posting
- Stay Motivated in the Internship or Job Search
- Tips for Conducting an Out-of-State Internship or Job Search
- Dealing with Rejection
Photo source: Unsplash|Skyler Smith