Internships are scary, but necessary alongside your degree

Sept. 21, 2015

Alexander Nedd
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Six months.

That’s the time it took for me to get an internship with KRDO News-Channel 13 in Colorado Springs. Six grueling months of emails, missed calls and begging to get in the door for what could be the most important step of my life.

It was worth it.

In college, we are taught skills that can be used in our work, often they are channeled into whatever our current major is. But college is not enough, and it wasn’t until I completed my internship that I realized just how unprepared I was to go into the work world.

The first day, I arrived bright and early: hair styled, pants pressed, ready to take on the world. I was given a tour of the station. Often starstruck by talents I had watched on TV since I was a kid (who were now my coworkers), I learned what the daily life of a reporter and producer was at KRDO.

The problem with school is the lack of true repercussions. Yes, you can make mistakes, even fail a test, but it’s still within the perimeters of a school setting, which is meant to help you succeed.

My internship taught me the real world doesn’t work like that.

Anyone with a job can relate to this information, but what makes an internship interesting is that it’s usually in line with what you hope to achieve when you graduate.

I learned reporters work long hours and are expected to be available at any moment. Stories I would turn around in a week’s time at The Scribe were expected in a day, sometimes less than that.

There were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it, that I was going to fail and had wasted four years in a field I couldn’t do. An internship forces you to heavily evaluate every decision you have made to get to this spot. Then, it forces you into another decision: Is this the route I should go?

KRDO didn’t just teach me important steps to becoming a reporter and journalist for southern Colorado. It taught me real-world skills that you can’t find in the classroom. I ultimately decided yes, it’s worth it.

That is why you need an internship. Should you be worried as a senior with no internship?

Yes. I’m not here to sugarcoat it, KRDO didn’t for me.

UCCS does their best to prepare you. They offer a number of work programs and can connect you with businesses you need to network with. But without some type of special case or internship, you might find yourself stuck after graduation with no door open in sight.

An internship opens that door.

My advice: start now. It’s not enough to have a degree in your field. It’s not enough for employers to make an investment in you, when you simply haven’t had the experience that will ultimately determine your career.

There are no finals, homework or pop quizzes. There is only you, your assigned duties and a boss that might never think you’re fast enough.

That’s what the real world is about. And that’s what an internship can teach you.

Start now, before it’s too late.