College is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done. If I had a dollar for every time I asked myself, “is this worth it?,” I would probably be able to pay off my student loans.
From middle school to high school, teachers, parents and basically every other adult on the planet drilled into our brains that spending tens of thousands of dollars on a college degree was essential to being successful in the future.
I think that majority of us can agree that college is a worthwhile investment. Ultimately, though, a college degree doesn’t guarantee you a job at the end of the day, because it’s not just about the degree.
While many believe that a college degree will lead them directly to their dream job, the truth is that, in most cases, it won’t, because many people have no experience in the field that they are interested in.
Not one of the adults who preached about the importance of a college degree to me mentioned arguably the most important aspect of college: internships.
An internship provides real-life experience and exposure.
College students who complete an internship have a great advantage over those who don’t. An internship allows students to use things that they have learned in the classroom and apply them to the outside world and real-life situations.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 60 percent of college graduates who participated in an internship received at least one job offer.
NACE also says that 95 percent of employers are looking for college graduates with experience.
You can acquire incredible amounts of education in your life, however, that knowledge doesn’t always translate to the working life.
Internships can better teach young adults about the companies, fields that they are interested in, and gives students with little experience some time in the professional world.
Getting connected and developing your professional network.
Partaking in an internship allows you to establish deeper relationships than you normally would talking to a stranger one-on-one.
Completing an internship is also really important when it comes to networking.
According to Timothy Butler, a professor at Harvard Business School, “The biggest mistake that people make networking is that people don’t do it.”
Internships often give you the opportunity to attend meetings and events where you can talk to other professionals in the field. Networking can help to acquire references and can even help when it comes down to searching for a job after graduation.
Give your career path a test drive.
You might discover through interning in your planned career field that it’s not exactly what you thought it would be like. On the other hand, you might discover that one area of your chosen field is better than another.
The truth is, in the classroom, something may seem like the perfect fit for you, but actually working in the field could be a completely different experience.
Completing an internship can help make sure that you don’t waste your time in a career you thought you would love, but ended up hating. But finding the right internship can ultimately result in you realizing just how passionate you are for your field and can add to the excitement of what the future may hold.