Make Time for a College Internship
One of the things I regret most about college is that I never got a college internship. Because I was paying my way through school and working many hours a week, I figured I didn’t have the time. In retrospect, I should have made the time. Internships allow students to network, to add marketable experience to their resume, and to “try on” a career path. They really are worth the time.
But what do you do if you’re working your way through school, or if you have kids and other obligations that don’t allow you much time? Keep in mind that most internships either (a) pay, or (b) don’t expect students to put in long hours. I didn’t know this when I was a student. With a little searching, I could have found an unpaid internship that still allowed me enough time to work and meet my other obligations. In addition, many departments offer college credit for internships, which can make it more reasonable to take an unpaid internship.
Still, if you don’t have unlimited time to intern for free, you might have to do some looking. Many internships do require long hours for little or no pay, so these will get snatched up by those lucky students who can afford this option.
Spend some time looking for an internship that has terms that are reasonable for you. You can find internship opportunities listed at your school’s career office, in your academic department, and on the Internet. And don’t be afraid to call companies that interest you to ask if they could use a free intern for a few hours a week. Smaller companies often are especially open to this idea, and if they don’t need you, they may be able to refer you elsewhere.
If you don’t know much about how the internship process works, or how you can make an internship fit into your busy schedule, educate yourself by using resources on your campus. Make an appointment with someone in the career services office, and come prepared to discuss your needs. Chances are that this office will be more than willing to help you. I definitely wish I had done this, so don’t make the same mistake I did by ruling out the possibility of an internship!