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To apply for an internship or not to apply for an internship, there is no question

(photo/nvconceptsonline.com)

(photo/nvconceptsonline.com)

Sixty-five percent of college students participate in an internship and/or co-op mentorship during their undergraduate education career, with the percentage rising each academic school year. Most academic departments at Ohio Northern University require students to expand their skills in a professional environment outside of the classroom. Other students choose to devote their summer vacations to working in a business, office, laboratory, etc., all with hopes to gain more experience in their desired fields. They attend meetings, learn the craft of their fields and create contacts that could [and often do] become beneficial once they begin applying for jobs after graduation.

This summer I worked as a communications and marketing intern for the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy in Jamestown, NY. The museum is currently expanding into the National Comedy Center, hoping to become the first interactive museum of its kind to engage guests in all forms of comedy. Throughout my entire experience, I learned so many valuable lessons, with one centering on the importance of obtaining an internship during one’s undergraduate education. Internships are the stepping stones for one’s career. These engaging experiences introduce students to the “real-world” atmosphere—a place, in my opinion, that is very daunting and complex.

So many people say internships are simply “resume builders.” While internships look great on paper for a future employer, they also provide so many tools for one’s growth as a professional.

Imagine entering your first job with absolutely no hands-on experience, except for what you learned in the academic classroom. Internships and/or co-op mentorships teach students essential skills they can apply in the “real-world.” Internships are the training ground for full-time jobs. You learn so much more by learning from and observing professionals who were once students, just like yourself.

For my internship, I applied the skills I learned in my academic courses, though I was able to understand the material even more because I was seeing a project come to life before my eyes. I know what it is like to work in an office, participate in conference calls with public relations firms, work on daily tasks and complete large projects. The internship was a life-changing experience for me, and I would want every college student to have a similar experience I had during my time in Jamestown, NY.

I know I’m far too young to be offering words of wisdom, but take my advice and use it as you please. If you’re a college student, apply for internships. It never hurts to gain experience. Most importantly, it helps to discover that you love your job before you receive your degree diploma.