Taking a Step Back

While many students, myself included, sometimes complain about working as an intern (as opposed to starting a full-time job) I can see how they are justified. Recently, however, I have also begun to realize that being an intern instead of an employee does have its own unique benefits. With hindsight as twenty-twenty, I have recently taken the opportunity to reflect back upon my current experience at Third Way as well as my previous internship, at the Fund for Peace (not to mention the whole bunches of positions I’ve held as an undergrad), and decided to compile a list of pro-internship advantages for any of you who are currently weighing your options.

First, as I had mentioned a few posts ago (and is probably the most obvious): Spring Break. In case you missed it, you can read it here. It is an opportunity to get out of the office and recover from midterms and papers. How many salaried people do you know (besides teachers!) who get a guaranteed week off every spring??

Second, the opportunity to change positions as often as every 3 months without worrying about answering the question ‘why did you leave your last job’ at the next interview. Answer: because I’m a student! I’m looking for a variety of experiences and grad school is the best way to do it. Done.

Third, unbelievable flexibility. Many internships do not require a full 40-hour week. In my case, I fluctuate between 25-30 hours depending on the work load both in the office and in the classroom. The best part is that I can move around my work days as needed to fit around the far-more-fixed exam dates. If my Monday night Economics course is having an in-class quiz, I can take that day off of my internship and come in on Tuesday – no problems at all.

Fourth, it is a great way to see what you don’t  want to do. If you don’t like your position as a National Security Intern or Research Assistant, only 3 months separate you from now and freedom! For example, I worked in the marketing department of a large pharmaceutical company my senior year of undergraduate school at Drew University. I had really thought I wanted to get into that field so why not give it a shot – I’d love it right? Wrong! I absolutely disliked the work and the subject matter, but the point is, now I know! I can officially cross off all marketing and pharmaceuticals from my job search list.

Finally, consecutive internships at a variety of locations allows you to build up a networking base as well as a contact list. As long as no major issues arise, you can utilize your former supervisors for professional references, the other interns as future contacts and every other coworker as a networking opportunity. This is invaluable to someone that is new to a city where ‘it’s all about who you know’!

Overall, there is a silver lining in the intern cloud. Just remember to look for it!

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