Internships best way to get real-world experience for career

March 14, 2017

Hannah Harvey

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     If you knew me last semester, you may remember that I had green hair for a couple months.

     It was a way for me to express myself, and I knew I was taking a risk by permanently dying my naturally red hair into something bolder.

     Sadly, the green hair had to go.

     I then dyed my hair dark brown for the sole purpose of trying to land an internship at the Colorado Springs Independent and the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

     Like dying my hair green, putting myself out there to further my career and skillset was taking a risk and stepping out of my comfort zone.

     But that’s the point of an internship: furthering your experience by taking a risk at a new company and finding out how to best represent yourself in a potential career.

     Internships are highly beneficial to students as they begin to branch off of campus and into the real world.

     In many industries, experience is key to land your dream job.

     For those like me who are vying to find a position as a full-time reporter in journalism, experience is imperative to your success.

     And that’s how it is with multiple industries, including healthcare, engineering, teaching—the list goes on.

     Roughly 65 percent of 2014 college graduates who worked paid internships received a job offer before graduation, according to a Burning Glass study reported by U.S. News.

     If you’re working an unpaid internship the news is still good; around 40 percent of graduates who worked an unpaid internship received job offers as well, according to the same study.

     While the benefit of a job offer is great, in my experience, it’s the intangible skills that really benefit students the most. I’m not just talking organization, time management or the other clichés commonly listed on the top of a resume.

     As students, we’re taught not to fail. But at an internship, we’re given the tools to do so and realize that, hey, mistakes happen.

     The “real world” is not contained to 100 seats in a lecture. In the working industry, you will most likely fail at some point; we can’t get A’s on every test that life will harshly grade us on.

     Internships teach you how to work on a deadline, which is not something that’s only relevant to journalists. Collaboration with others, sharing ideas and revising the ones that might not be as good as you think are all important to working together.

     Everyone is working toward the same goal, whether that’s putting out a weekly newspaper or teaching a first-grade student simple addition.

     We can all benefit from getting outside of the UCCS bubble.

     While many opportunities exist at UCCS to help us pursue the career paths we want, it’s an outside internship that exposes us to what we want to do with the real-life implications of that job.

     Internships aren’t easy to come by; you have to actively search for it and go after what you want.

     But when you find the right one and put the right amount of time and effort into taking those risks and growing both as a student and a person, you’ll acquire the kind of knowledge you can’t get in a classroom