PAIGE LISTON | OPINION COLUMNIST
The internship: a coveted goal and crucial position that, at some point, all college students want to possess. It is constantly drilled into students’ brain that obtaining the all-important internship is the key to professional success.
This may seem a daunting task because of the significance that is placed on gaining an internship.
For me personally, it is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind as students are already looking toward summer and thinking of ways in which they could gain more experience in the work force during their time off from school.
Junior Sarah Burns is currently involved in her first internship at the Center for Faith and Vocation and already has her summer planned out with an internship in Chicago.
“We are lucky to be at Butler during the school year because it is nice to be in Indianapolis where there are so many opportunities,” Burns said. “But the summer is when things start to get much more competitive because kids come home and are all interested in the same internships as you.”
Although it may seem intimidating to reach for an internship that so many other people are also applying for, it is important to take any opportunity that comes your way. In the end, the experience a student will gain by trying will always be more advantageous than disadvantageous.
Burns said the most stressful part about applying for internships is the fact that she felt behind. She had seen so many impressive people at Butler with five internships under their belt already, but she soon discovered it was important to take internships at your own pace.
Mike Thomas, executive career mentor for Butler’s College of Business, said the real challenge with internships lies within the students and the internal struggle they may face in figuring out exactly what they want to do in life.
“Students need to realize that not all internships are created equal,” Thomas said. “Students should establish questions that they want to answer through the internships of their choice because, really, each internship is a learning process.”
I know I struggle with understanding exactly what I want to do with my future as far as where I want my professional life to lead. I need to keep in mind that internships are all a part of the learning process and they are meant to help me on my path to success, not cause me more stress.
Just because you choose to work at a specific internship, this does not mean that profession is what you will be doing for the rest of your life.
“What a better way to see if you are interested in a particular field than to be on the job,” Thomas said. “Internships are an incredibly valuable experience, and when it is evident that students have learned something about themselves and their professional goals so deeply, it is a fantastic thing to see.”
With my resume of a whopping zero internships, the main piece of advice that I have heard uttered time after time is to always network yourself in any way that you can.
Burns said it is important to not be afraid to contact businesses first and to put yourself out there by using any connections you may have.
When you establish connections with possible employers, those connections will always lead to further connections down the road.
Thomas is incredibly proud of the Butler business students he has aided in their journeys to find those perfect internships.
“Students who intern at prestigious companies seem to be doing very well, which I think speaks to the preparation that students receive here at Butler,” Thomas said. “They come out with substantial experiences, and they know where they want to go in life.”
Is that not the goal of all college students, to know where we want to go in life?
We are exceptionally lucky to be at a university that places internships at such a high importance and provides us with the resources and tools we need to achieve professional success and know where we want our lives to lead us.
Internships can appear intimidating, especially for an underclassmen such as myself, but it is important to not be intimidated by those who seem to have already completed 50 internships.
Take on each internship one at a time, never be afraid to network yourself or reach out to a possible employer first and have confidence in yourself that you will represent Butler University well in whatever internship you are chosen for.