Many colleges are beginning to require their students to complete an internship before graduating. Auburn is no exception. Many majors now include an internship as part of the curriculum. Internships offer a real-world experience for students and recent graduates where they can apply what they have learned in class to a professional setting. This experience can be invaluable to a young professional.
I have been an intern for nearly six months now, currently interning for credit. The following are seven truths that I have learned in my time that may encourage others to intern as well:
1. Showing up is 80% of life
The old adage, “Showing up is 80% of life,” rings true. An internship is an opportunity to learn through experience and there is no better way to do that than show up and listen. Listen to what people tell you to do, to what others are doing and watch how the office runs. This will help you understand how to work and meet your goals in a professional setting.
2. Being on time is a gift to yourself
Jumping off the first point, be on time. Walk through the door well before 9:00 a.m. so that you’re ready to start the day on time. You’ll be ahead of everyone else and it will show. This does not just have to do with when you show up, though. Meet your deadlines and complete your tasks on time too. Missing a deadline in the real world has consequences that go far past a few points off on a paper.
3. Experience is the name of the game
I have learned more since my internship started than in class. That is not to say I did not learn a lot in my classes because I did, but nothing can top experience. Actually having a hand in all of the things I have been lectured about and tested on helped me to understand it so much more.
4. Education is much more than coursework
To say that your education ends when you leave the classroom is wrong. The entire world is your classroom. With an internship, the real world learning begins. Instead of learning about certain things, you will actually do them. And I personally learn best by doing, as most people probably do. Again, I would go as far as to say that I have learned as much from my internship as I have from my courses.
5. You will find out if you really love your major
I knew from the first day of my internship that I made the right choice in choosing my major. This is something you will come to find out during an internship. When in the classroom, the line between a subject that you find interesting and one that you want to actively participate in can be blurred. Once you get hands-on experience, though, that line will become more defined by the day. You will really find out if this is what you want to do with your career or not, and I am happy to say that it is for me.
6. You get out of life what you put in
Based on my own work and what I have seen from those around me, you get out what you put in. Hard work shows. It is as simple as that. If you do not put forth the effort and the time, you will not be as successful as your peers that do. This truth has motivated me to do the best work I possibly can at both my internship and in my courses.
7. It’s required for a reason
For the School of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University, the internship is required. I can tell you that it should be for everyone. “The internship provides students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to a professional setting,” said Ric Smith, Internship Director for the School of Communication and Journalism. “Students gain practical, hands-on experience and develop relationships while contributing their skills and insights to the host organizations.” I could not put it any better myself, so I won’t.
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