By: Kendre Verbeck, Senior APSU
As a Communication major here at APSU, no matter what your concentration is, you must complete an internship before you can be handed that beautiful diploma. Completing an internship can be one of the most useful, rewarding, and educational parts of your college career. If you find the right opportunity you can really learn exactly what your future outside of the academic world will be like with a career using your degree. A lot can be learned in a classroom about communications, but what can be gained from some real world experience and lessons is something you can’t afford to miss out on.
After completely one successful and one not so successful internship I decided to put together a few tips about choosing the right one for you and you communication degree.
Know your schedule
College students are busy, everyone knows that. And if you’re like me and you hold a full time job while attending classes, you are VERY busy. You need to make sure you know what time you have to dedicate towards an internship, and if you don’t believe it to be enough you need to make more time. Your internship boss is going to expect you to treat this like a real job(because it is) so you need to be sure you can dedicate the time required towards it. For me it took cutting my hours at my job, which hurt financially of course, but what I learned in my internship will benefit me more in the long wrong than some extra cash for after school activities will right now. Thats what it comes down to sometimes, what will be better for you in the long run versus right now, and thats also kind of what an internship is all about; giving you a taste of that carrier you want after college.
Look for what you’re passionate about
My first internship I ran the social media accounts for a large variety of clients in the cosmetic industry. I do not wear much make-up, mainly because I have no idea about applying it, but that added to me being less informed and less passionate about my work. Make-up is great, people do amazing things with it, but it just wasn’t something I felt creative about and really struggled to reach the quota for content each week. I found myself reaching out to friends for help losing a lot of my originality which helped me get this internship in the first place. Now my second internship involved writing blogs and content for a pet friendly travel website. I love animals, I love traveling, this was perfect for me. I excelled so much more with this internship and I learned TONS more. I felt this was incredibly beneficial to me, and I find that in big relation towards my passion for the topic. In communications I have found your best work comes from being passionate. In a field so involved with content and connecting to an audience, I learned how important a connection to your work really is. Chasing an internship you can care about benefits you as well as your boss.
Getting paid would be great, but it isn’t everything
At first while searching for internships you’ll be motivated to apply for the paid ones, and maybe the paid ones only. I know I was, especially when I found out I would be needing to cut my own paid hours at my job. But as mentioned earlier the experience you gain while working an internship can definitely outweigh the financial aspect of it.
Utilize sources from your school
I know APSU has some great resources for finding and internship, May it be talking with facility that can help send you in the right direction or the always helpful and usually underused Career Services. They can help set you up with a profile on different sites that companies and professionals search when looking for student intern. I used a profiles on internships.com and received a lot of feedback from companies and a few interviews very quickly. It is a great resource I highly recommend! Looking for an internship can be stressful, but you don’t have to let it be.
Make your internship so much more than the stereotype of just getting your boss coffee. Embrace all your options and the opportunities that come with your communication internships!