Internships are a necessity

You’ll learn more in the real world than you ever will in your British literature lecture.

When chemistry bogs you down and you canâÄôt get through another historical survey of British literature, it might be time to remind yourself why you are here and what your end goal is. Do an internship. ItâÄôs the only way you can really get an idea of why you need to cram your mind with what may seem like useless trivia. It may even result in a major change. Either way, internships are a necessity, and if you are planning on doing one this summer, you need to apply now. Most applications are due early to mid March, if their deadlines have not already past. So you may need to set that college-level algebra book aside for a day and poke around on GoldPASS before itâÄôs too late. At many job sites, youâÄôll find that internships are not even listed. But even if the company is not desperately searching for young blood, that doesnâÄôt mean they arenâÄôt interested. Many companies simply forget to update their websites or are too busy to seek out an intern. In that case, it would be to your benefit to hunt down the e-mail of someone that could lead you in the right direction. Be determined and make a good impression. The key to landing a great internship is persistence. No matter what year you are in school, you should take on at least two internships before you graduate. There is no way you can be certain about your career path until you get a taste of the real deal, even if the closest you can get is making coffee and working the reception desk, youâÄôll at least see what the atmosphere is like and have the opportunity to make professional contacts in your field. The people you meet can teach you more than you could ever learn in class. Most internships allow you to work on a project, attend a few meetings and give you responsibilities that will make your resume stand out. However, you often need to be proactive to get the most out of an internship by offering your skills to your supervisor, requesting to shadow an employee for a day or even setting up an informational interview. Finding out how the CEO, head doctor or creative director got to where they are today can give you a direction in your own education and help you draw out a path for your post-graduate plans. The earlier you do an internship, the earlier you may discover that mortuary science is not the major for you, culinary arts requires a lot of patience or that you could take a semester off and do research with your field director in Costa Rica. And if you make a great impression, you might even get offered a job. If not, you will at least have an easier time getting hired when you graduate. But donâÄôt just look for the internship that pays the most; some of the best programs might be unpaid or may require you to register for credit. However, these unpaid internships are often the most rewarding. You simply need to do a bit of research and ask questions in your interview to find out if the time you put in will be worth the effort. If you are graduating, itâÄôs likely that an internship is the yellow brick road into that esteemed entry-level position. But if your aim is to get hired, be prepared to appear highly motivated, establishing yourself as an asset. Make yourself known, donâÄôt be shy, ask questions, pose solutions and make them aware that you can handle yourself among the professionals. Get in the know about openings at the company and express your interest. YouâÄôll find that it usually pays off to be forward with your goals. March is just around the corner, as are the deadlines for summer positions. So get your resume together now, before your chances melt away. Ashley Goetz accepts comments at [email protected]