Interns bust ‘gofer’ myth

Senior Matthew Gleit dresses his best as he prepares to be interviewed for a promising finance internship.By Allie Ward

“Where’s my coffee? What are you waiting for? Get it NOW!”

Contrary to the popular stereotype of interns as “gofers” (someone who goes-for this and goes-for that), internships are now giving college students a chance to really demonstrate their knowledge.

Internships have been growing in popularity and increasing in demand for college students. By contacting an Internship Coordinator for their area of study, students have the chance to get practical work experience, learn their field and understand how to apply what they learn in the classroom.

“Students should be required to have an internship,” Brenda Andrzejewski, a 2003 Rider graduate, said. “Nowadays, it’s the only thing that separates you from everyone else.”

During her time at Rider, Andrzejewski was involved in three different internships and is now the vice president of event planning at Merrill Lynch. According to Andrzejewski, the experience she obtained from internships helped her grow as a professional.

“Because I grew faster, I’ve been promoted faster,” she said.

Besides separating a candidate from the hundreds of other applicants, internships are a guaranteed way to get real work experience before graduating college. Some positions are paid and most can be transferred to college credits.
Jenn Kamm, an education major graduating in December 2008, said that one of the benefits of her student teaching internship was the opportunity to network.

“Give it your all because you never know who will want to hire you or pass your name on to somebody else,” she said.

More times than not, a successful internship can lead to a job offer or, at least, an excellent recommendation. In fact, when a teacher at a local school district went on maternity leave, Kamm was called in as her replacement.

Another benefit of landing an internship is the level of maturity that comes with the job. To be a student thrown into a professional setting is overwhelming to say the least. Andrzejewski’s advice? Ask questions.

“I didn’t know how to use a copy machine; I felt so stupid,” she said. “It took me forever to learn because I was so scared to ask for help. If you ask for help and get a curt response, ask someone else.”

The advantage of internships at Rider is the University’s location. According to the school’s Web site, it “gives students access to a wide variety of state agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses.”

This wide variety accommodates students majoring in any area of study from journalism to political science to fine arts.

“An internship provides a foothold in the professional marketplace,” Andrzejewski said.

Although internships through Rider are usually encouraged to juniors and seniors, this shouldn’t discourage underclassmen from looking. Two of Andrzejewski’s internships, both at the amusement park Sesame Place, were ones she found on her own.

Even an internship secured through another source, if comparable, can be used in exchange for credit.

“People in the workplace are going to ask you if you have experience,” Andrzejewski said. “If you learn all this stuff in college and never apply it, then it’s useless.”

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