Internships: the Bridge from College Classroom to Workplace Success
Have you been told internships are merely an opportunity to work really hard for little or no pay? Don’t believe it. Would you enjoy an experience of learning new and always changing responsibilities? We believe an internship will offer all this and so much more.
There are transitions in life that offer nothing more than a shove into the deep end of the larger pool you now find yourself swimming in. The jump from high school to college can feel like this. After all, on the one end, you had parents who helped to make sure all was well. Meals, laundry, schedule? Check, check, and check.
Suddenly you find yourself in college. Most likely you’re on a meal plan. But no one is telling you when you should go eat. Perhaps your dirty laundry can last until the next time you go home for a weekend. Will it last before people let you know they have seen you in that shirt three times this week?
Grace College offers help for this transition. Yet, hard as it is to believe, a larger transition looms. It is the transition from a college classroom to a workplace office. Before you fret, enter the internship.
Skills Benefits of an Internship
There are many advantages you will find from your time spent in an internship. Here are a few.
You will accumulate evidence of abilities. Sure, your grades are good. Your parents are proud. But good grades alone won’t keep you from living with your parents after you graduate. The opportunity to apply all that classroom knowledge is a huge benefit. The facts learned in books are cemented through the experience of an internship. Plus, there will be many soft skills gained.
Joining a company will offer you the opportunity to practice good communication skills. This includes good teamwork skills. Sure, you may have been forced into a few group projects in the classroom. But, for the most part, your grades depended solely on the effort you put in. But companies often have many departments all working towards one common goal. Your ability to work together is important.
Professional Benefits of an Internship
Working hard as an intern will provide you with professional contacts and references. Have you ever thought you only needed someone to offer a chance to prove yourself? An internship does just that. Many employers use their internship program as a pool from which to hire new employees. In one year, 70% of Hewlett Packard’s new hires came from their group of interns. *
The experience of being an intern will improve your confidence. Having confidence is key. You’re armed with practical abilities and professional witnesses to those abilities. You do not need to worry about your future. Having an internship increases your marketability to employers. On average, only 30% of graduating seniors have job offers before graduation; however, after completing an internship, that figure rises to 63%.
An internship can even reveal you’re headed in the wrong direction. It might be time to change course. Yes, this sounds scary after the investment of time and money at college. This is a good reason to not put off internships until your senior year. This experience might show you where your real interests are in life.
Grace College Internships
The Center for Career Connections at Grace will ensure you have internship opportunities. They offer applied learning experiences and walk with you as you create a network of professional contacts. In fact, Grace is so confident in its academic process, it offers a placement promise. This promise is a guarantee of finding employment after graduation.
Jessica VandenBoom, a sophomore at Grace studying Facility and Event Management and Marketing, is one example of lessons learned from an internship. She was an intern at Phoenix America during the summer of 2017 and helped develop their new website. Here’s what she had to say about that experience.
The greatest lesson I learned that I can apply to school, a future career, and life in general is finding joy in the journey. It was very difficult not being able to see clear results throughout the summer. While I was making progress on the website and product data sheets, I wasn’t seeing a final product. There was constantly tweaking and revising. After struggling with it for quite a while, I realized that, like in life, joy is found in the journey and the hard work put in along the way. When we focus on taking each step to the best of our abilities, God will bless us and guide our steps to the finish line.
Internships are a Pathway
A little over a year ago, I stopped by a table at Grace’s Career Fair. Having no idea what the career was, I was drawn to it for no reason other than the fact that the posters boasted the most adorable, smiling kiddos. I stopped and talked to the representative that said something about this thing called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. I was still clueless, but I was interested. Later I filled out an internship application, interviewed at the center, and set up my internship. About 6 months ago, I spent 5 hours a day, 3 days a week, for 8 weeks, and totaled about 120 hours of shadowing a day in the life of an ABA therapist. I learned so much about autism and ABA therapy, and this is when I fell in love with the compassionate therapists, adorable kiddos, and impact of this profession.
A few months ago, I applied and was accepted into the special education department and master’s program in ABA therapy at Ball State. And today, I had an interview and was offered a position as an ABA therapist at Lighthouse Autism Center in Mishawaka, IN.
Spiritual Formation Through Internships
One forgotten and mostly overlooked benefit of internships is the opportunity to reflect the servant-minded nature of Jesus. After all, it is important to reveal your relationship with Christ to those around us. This is accomplished first by your trust to follow God’s leading into something new.
Once you’re there, you’ll have daily opportunities to reflect the love of Jesus in all your relationships. It can be easy to assume the internship is all about you. But entering in with a humility of your position will be of more benefit. Understanding where you are in your career journey will be helpful as you seek to serve.
Remembering our call to be salt and light wherever we go will ensure that the internship will be beneficial to you as the student and also the company. Would you like more information about Grace College and the internships we offer?