Student Perspective: It’s Never Too Early for an Internship
By Annalise Cosco, Senior Communication/Journalism major
Your students made it through their first semester of college. They adjusted to being away from home, made new friends, and figured out how to handle all that spare time. Christmas break was a much needed one for them to relax and spend time with your family, but did you ask them the dreaded question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The easiest way to answer this question is by doing internships, and doing them early. I am a senior at Fisher and have done three internships in my years here. From my internships, I learned three important lessons all leading to why college students should do internships early in their college careers. Yes, they may not always be able to do them for credit, depending on when they do it, but that shouldn’t deter them from embracing an opportunity. The experience they will get from the internship is far more important than the credit.
The first and most important lesson your student can learn from an internship is whether or not it’s what they want to do. The earlier they intern, the earlier they will realize if they have chosen the right career path. If they wait to do an internship until the end of junior or senior year of college and end up hating it, it may be too late to switch majors and they could risk graduating later than they (and you) initially planned.
Internships have more value than just the physical work interns do. My internships helped me learn the type of office I want to be in, the people I want to be around, and the type of schedule and hours I eventually want to work. As a student who aspires to work in broadcasting, I did my first internship the summer before my sophomore year of college. This is when I learned the hours I worked would not be normal! I was there some nights until 11:00 p.m. and interned some weekends. I learned this crazy schedule is what my life would be like if I pursued this career. This was extremely beneficial because it showed me early in my studies whether or not to keep my career path or change it.
Cosco practicing a stand-up at HSBC Arena after a Sabres Game for 13WHAM, the local ABC affiliate.
The second important lesson is that once students determine the right field, early internships will help give them the best work samples for their portfolio. The more they do, the better they will get. It’s cheesy and cliché, I know, but practice makes perfect! Whether it’s writing a press release, a blog post, a magazine article, editing a video, or creating a design for an advertisement, the first samples will always be the worst. The more students have done, the more options they have to choose from. They want to make sure only the best samples go in their portfolio. If your student waits until they are almost graduated to intern, those first terrible work samples they do are going to end up in their portfolio at their job interviews, giving a potential employer a first impression your student may not want to give them.
Doing an early internship is also beneficial for your student because they will become more confident in themselves as they go through college. At my first internship, I was shy and afraid to ask to do things because I was only a sophomore. I missed out on what could have been some great opportunities for me. By the time I got to my second internship, I was a second semester junior and more assured of myself and confident with the skills I had. I was no longer afraid to be in front of the camera or ask my supervisor for more work. If your student does an internship early on, then it won’t be as big of a deal when they miss out on an opportunity because they can make it up next time. As they intern, they will learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and they will be much more willing to approach their supervisor and co-workers with ideas or to simply ask questions.
So, next time you ask your student what they want to be when they grow up, tell them to start exploring now through internship opportunities. Remember, it’s never too early to start!
Cosco sitting on the court waiting to shoot highlights of a Syracuse Game for one of her internships.