While your major is an important decision, it is more important that you plan your college years wisely to allow for internship opportunities throughout your education. Internships are a great way to gain practical experience while letting you “try-out” a certain career. They also are a great way to network and learn valuable business communication skills. More and more employers see internships as an easy way to evaluate potential employees. Many internships can even turn into a full-time job after graduation! Below you can read about some of Students Rising Above’s internship success stories:
San Francisco Museum and Historical Society: Shiyun Yang and Jessica Castro were not interested in history but the promise of a paid internship in which they would learn a new computer program was reason enough to accept internships at the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. Little did they know that working with historical artifacts, such as actual letters written within weeks of the massive 1906 earthquake by desperate survivors pleading for help, would make history come alive for them and spark a new interest! Even though Shiyun and Jessica don’t plan to major in history, they both want to delve more deeply into this subject and will take some history classes in college.
John Muir Community Health Alliance: Mehari Haile entered college planning on pursuing a medical career. During college, he realized that his true passion was theology but was concerned about finding a career where he could support himself and help his family financially. He thought that his two interests in the health field and theology were mutually exclusive until he had an internship at the John Muir Community Health Alliance, a public health organization that serves communities in need. One of their programs is the Faith and Health Partnership. This experience taught Mehari that the field of Public Health offers many opportunities for a career that combines addressing important health issues and being of service.
Alliance for Climate Education: Tyre Ellison always thought he might want to start a non-profit one day to help disadvantaged young people. What he didn’t realize is that running a non-profit is very similar to running a business. Even though working for an organization promoting educating students about climate change was not Tyre’s ultimate goal, he accepted an internship with the Alliance for Climate Education because he knew he could learn transferable skills that he could use in the future. By the end of his internship experience, Tyre had a much deeper understanding of what needs to happen behind the scenes at a successful non-profit.
As you can see from these stories sometimes taking an internship that may not be directly related to the career you are interested in can actually open up a whole new world of possibilities! You can also of course gain valuable experience. If these stories have inspired you to pursue your own internship success story read on below to gain insight into the general internship search process.
● Start researching and planning early – some companies start searching for interns as early as November/December!
● Think broadly, your major does not have to dictate your internship. It is more important that you start building professional experience. Don’t be discouraged if all of your internships are not “perfect.”
● Apply to multiple internships, preferably 3-5 minimum BUT only ACCEPT ONE. It is unprofessional to accept more than one internship or to accept an internship and then go back on your commitment and accept a different internship.
● Connect with your school’s Career Center & professors, mentors or other adults in your network to learn about internship opportunities.
● Utilize online databases for more leads:
Don’t forget the earlier you start planning and preparing for internship season the easier the search will be!