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Internships offer valuable experience

Column by Selchia Cain

Selchia Cain-w2000-h2000Having a college degree is similar to wearing underwear to an interview. You are expected to have it. But experience is like a well-tailored suit that perfectly fits your personality.

It’s a professional representation of your skills, customized by hands-on leadership opportunities, your passions, your goals, community service and internships.

Since I have been at Drake University, I have had the opportunity to have four internships, and  am currently looking for a fifth. Through all of my internships I received quality hands on experience.

I acquired all types of skills, some as simple as customer service and others as complex as doing thorough research on a potential new client and preparing a business proposal.

This summer, I decided to take an internship that was unpaid. And honestly as a college student I can’t say I would do it again, but the experience was priceless.

I had the chance to work with a staff that would go out of their way to include me on every single project and invite me every business lunch or networking event. Not only did I help plan their company’s 25th anniversary party, but I was able to exchange business cards with corporate CEOs and communications professionals with resumes so impressive even the president of the United States had to hire them. The mentors that I gained equally matched the skills I learned. And I know without a doubt they would be more than happy to use their network to help me establish my career.

A mentor once told me the only separation between ordinary people and extraordinary people is the fact that they do the “extra.” That is one thing that many interns fail to do, she said.  So when asked how far I would go for my dream job, I’d say, I would be willing to do the extra work, put in the extra time and the extra effort. Hoping to transform an ordinary internship into an extraordinary career.

If I were to have to give my dream job a title it would be the chief communications officer for a Fortune 500 company. Or an executive communications and public relations officer of an entertainment company such as FOX or Universal Studios.

But overall as cliché as it may sound, my dream job would be a career that I love. To be able to go to work everyday and not see it as a job but simply getting paid for doing what I enjoy.

Internships are used as tools to reach an end goal. Be it to achieve your dream job or just to help you decide if you have chosen the right career path.

When I think about purpose of internship, it is not solely about adding an extra line to your resume or filing away another letter of recommendation. It is about the personal and profession a development you should have received from the experience and using what you have learned as motivation to push you toward your career goals.

Henry David Thoreau said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

So how well-tailored is your suit?

Cain is a junior public relations and magazines double major and can be reached at selchia.cain@drake.edu

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