Not every major requires an internship, and in terms of figuring out what is best for your professional life, not requiring internships is a complete disservice to your education. Internships can be one of the most beneficial experiences available to students, and not obtaining one is a disadvantage to a college career.
I started at Rider entirely convinced that I should be a high school teacher – that is, until I was actually placed in a high school. My first internship-type work and I was struck with the realization that teaching was not for me. I wasn’t sure where to go next or even what to pursue. So from there, as my junior year was coming to an end, I found myself in a frenzy, applying for whatever editorial internships that I could find. By the end of the summer, I found one with a small publishing company as their editorial intern. By October of my senior year, I dropped my education major, and found myself fueled with a whole new drive and passion for the editorial work I found.
I loved every second of my internship, and I gained an experience I wouldn’t have given up for anything. With my intern position, I was given a chance to dive into the field that I was passionate about, and with every new project, I grew more and more confident with the decision I had made.
Without that internship experience, I would probably still be an education major, silently dreading what comes after graduation. But with the internship, I was able to see what I could do outside of teaching. This experience is invaluable, and not only because it looks fantastic on a résumé. With a hands-on opportunity, there is the ability to see how work in a desired field really feels. For me, it was never that I was a bad teacher; it was that seeing what a day in that life was like showed me how little I wanted to live through that routine. After the editorial internship, I loved the fast-paced environment and the duties that came with it. It felt like the right fit, and that is what an internship can provide.
More than being able to see what a certain career is like, interns have the ability to test out their own abilities and see how they fit into a certain job mold. They acquire real skills that can enhance résumés and will be used in the job market. With an internship, there is no textbook. There are no easy answers, and the biggest test of the experience is the question, “Can you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?”
We spend thousands of dollars to be at this school; why waste that money with a major you don’t actually enjoy? As daunting as it may sound, internships allow the chance to really get a feel for life after graduation. After the amount of money put into school, why wouldn’t you want to go out and get a taste of what that will be like before having to go into the job market?
Senior English writing major
Printed in the 03/04/15 issue.