It's getting hot outside, your professors continues to repeat the foreign word "finals" and your parents are lovingly interrogating you on your plans for the upcoming break.
As the title will suggest my answer to this question is to take an internship. I am on my 5th internship and counting and I can honestly say it has been very rewarding and to some degree, fun. My job right now is to convince you to take at least one internship in the next few months. Here's why:
1. Increase your value
Look at internships as a way to increase your value contribution to an organization. Now, whether you go with a multinational, a small to medium-sized enterprise or even a startup, what I would personally suggest is to look for any organization that you think will give you an education on an industry, empathy, latest trends, software , practices, and an opportunity to apply your learnings. How you figure that out takes another blogpost all together but, a majority of it involves homework and asking questions.
2. Get paid
All three go hand-in-hand with increasing your value. Exposure and experience will ideally, heighten your knowledge in an area and give you more practice. If you can make an impression on people with the way you treat them and your work ethic, those people or contacts in this case, may aid or present you future opportunties.
When I got one of my internships, it was a little helpful that the manager still remembered me from college and that one of her officemates remembered me as that guy who wished him luck before a job interview.
3. Know what you want in your career
An internship provides you with a snapshot of the industry and what people do, but it also provides you with a working basis for your ideal work routine and environment. Besides determining which company or department you would prefer, you may want to ask yourself other questions such as:
“What type of managers and officemates do you work best with?”
“How can youimprove your productivity?”
“Do you need to move closer to work?”
“Do I have to be nice to everyone?”
“How do you handle an office crush?”
“What’s an income tax, and why do the smiliest of employees frown when I ask?”
There are many more questions but keep in mind that, as an employee, you are pretty much tied to a company for 6 months. AN internship, on the other hand, is usually shorter than that and you may have a better feel and answer to your own personal set of questions.
4. Be a student of the human condition
“Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”
Someone else probably thought of this line but I heard this quote from ESPNLA’s John Ireland in his podcast Mason and Ireland. The quote is not about skipping classes or dropping out. It is about learning beyond the textbooks.
This post is mostly about internships and in a way, advancing your career but keep in mind that similar to not everything is about textbooks, not everything is about the career. Being lucky enough to have met the people I have met so far, I learned a lot more about the human condition.
I met several college sweethearts, young couples, engaged, and married people who gave me dating and relationship tips. I tried to understand why a British man would relocate to this country. I was in awe of a Stanford grad who spent most of his time in America, decide to move his entire family back to his homeland.
I had interesting conversations about how it was to be pregnant. I had to say goodbye to great officemates and friends only to welcome new officemates and eventual friends. I had a bit of an insight of how a near 40 year-old man jokes about scaring boys to not date his teenage daughter. I also experienced the feeling of gratitude for the people who gave me an opportunity.
There probably is so much more I can say about the “other things” I’ve enjoyed and learned but that’ll be too much.
Beyond just gaining an education on an internship on how to put yourself in a better position in your career, always keep in mind that work is not everything and that people you work with, have a lot more to teach you than is written on the sprint board.