The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Consider a summer internship

Jason Adams

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As we come closer to those warm and beautiful summer months, many college students head back home to focus less on their education and more on making some hard-earned cash. So while everyone else is outside enjoying the weather, they’ll be inside working hard to pay for their education and trying to figure out how to cool off a little bit. For many college students, a summer job is either at a retail store, a fast food place or maybe a local park district running summer camps. While these are all great jobs for low-experience workers — i.e. college students — and can look great on a resume with dedication, they’re probably not related to the profession or major that a student is pursuing. Except for maybe interpersonal skills, low-income summer jobs like these don’t exactly help develop skills for a specific career or get a student’s foot in the door in terms of career opportunities. For that, your best bet is an internship. An internship is a very valuable thing to have under your belt before you graduate.

Internships give you an opportunity to explore your desired career path and see if it’s really something you want to make a career out of. College can only give you a taste of a certain field, as many professions can’t really be found or recreated in a classroom setting. An internship gives you a first-hand experience into the actual dealings of a certain career path. It may not be exactly what you want to do, but it would be something close or related. Hopefully you would find one that would pay you, so that way you wouldn’t need a summer job (or rather the internship would become your summer job), but even if it’s unpaid or a low-compensation level, it still gives you great experience and you could always have a part-time job for a little extra money. The experience is vital and could help you in that career path in the future, or maybe make you realize this field really isn’t for you.

While it’s probably too late for this summer, an internship may not be a bad idea for next summer. A growing number of companies are offering summer internships, and a good number of those hire some of their internships to work for them full time after graduation. So not only would you have a summer job in your desired field, you could potentially have a career after graduation as well if the company likes you and sees potential in you. And while there is always the possibility for promotion to management or corporate in retail and fast food, there isn’t as much room for growth in a regular summer job as there is in an internship, at least not in such a short period of time. So next fall, start looking for internships in your desired field. Maybe you don’t need one for graduation, but the experience and skills you’ll receive over the summer is well worth it. And besides, the pay’s usually not bad either.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Consider a summer internship