To Intern…Or Not To Intern? (Part 1)
With the growth of client assignments in the classroom, are internships outdated?
Part one of a two-part blog on internships from Clairemont’s own fantastic intern, Carly Griffin.
Imagine sitting at the dinner table over Christmas break during your sophomore year of college, and your dad asks you, “So, do you have an internship lined up for the summer yet?”
Internship…? INTERNSHIP? You JUST decided on a major. Two months ago. And only after flirting with every other major your school offers. Does he really expect you to have an internship lined up already?
So, you mumble a response, such as, “I’ve been looking into it.”
Then, the panic sets in. How do you find an internship? Hello, Google! What kind of internship should you apply to? Oh yeah, my major. Where can you apply? I guess living at home would be cool. Are you even qualified for an internship? Probably, not. Are internships even necessary? Hmm…
In every intern interview I’ve done, one question always seems to come up: why do you want this internship? And my response is the same each time: the classroom is a great place to learn theories, but it’s vital to gain the real world experience a college setting cannot provide.
But in a day when college courses now assign you to work for a client, did my answer still ring true?
In my PR Writing class, we were given a semester-long assignment with a non-profit, Theater Delta, where we applied classroom learning to an actual company. And while this was a great opportunity, it lacked the real-life professionalism of an internship that I had to secure on my own.
In addition, the assignment ended after a semester with no opportunity to continue working for the company. And that, my friends, is key. The relationship that you develop during a traditional internship paves the way for career mobility, forward momentum and—simply put—job offers.
The work I did for Theater Delta, while instructive and educational, did not have the same future opportunities as a “real” internship. For this reason, I’m thankful for that night at the dinner table. It made me examine my options and inspired me to start working towards a professional internship that would be pack the most punch as I built my career.
Weigh in: do you think a classroom internship provides the same benefits as a opportunity outside the college setting?