By Heather Ianuale
When you first enter college, you’re excited for all the new changes in your life. You have hundreds of new faces to meet, exciting classes you’re actually interested in, and get to stay up as late as you want without your parents getting angry. College is a wonderful experience and nothing compares to it.
The problem, however, is that it’s easy to get lost in the glamour of starting college. The point of going to school is to gain a valuable education that can hopefully lead you to a successful career. To get involved, many students think doing decently well in classes and joining a few clubs is enough.
Internships, especially early in your academic career, are beneficial for three main reasons.
First off, they’re basically required for you to get a job. You need experience to get experience. Internships show that you can take what you learn in a classroom and apply it into the real world. Just because you do well on an accounting exam doesn’t mean you can handle real life balance sheets. Getting A’s in bio doesn’t mean you know how to treat a patient. Pre-law may teach you terminology, but it won’t prepare you for analyzing an actual judicial case.
It’s important for future employers to see if you can transition from the classroom to the real world, and internships are the perfect time to showcase your abilities.
Second, they help you determine if what you’re majoring in is something you’d enjoy doing for the rest of your life. What you learn in a classroom can be completely different when you’re applying it in the real world.
I had a marketing internship last semester, because I thought I loved marketing and it would be my major. However, two months into the internship, I was dreading going each day and couldn’t wait until my last day. Marketing definitely wasn’t for me.
This summer, I interned as an auditor for an amusement park, and I fell in love with accounting. I found a discipline I could be passionate about and continue with for the rest of my life. I could have gone three years into my marketing degree without knowing how much I disliked it, and then it would have been too late to change my major.
Interning early gives you a window of opportunity to find your passion that you may not have had otherwise.
Lastly, it feels good to get off campus and do something different. It’s easy to get stuck in the bubble that is your campus and never leave. It’s much more fulfilling to enter the real world and community around you. There’s a world outside of college, so explore it while you can.
I recommend interning as early as possible to everyone I know. What’s the worst that can happen? You network, build your resume, find a passion, and can even have fun. Try it.
Heather Ianuale is a sophomore at Muhlenberg College double majoring in accounting and finance. She dreams of becoming an entertainment accounting and plans to achieve this goal by interning at as many different places as possible while in school.