Vivian Haynes is a freelance journalist and videographer. Her news stories have contributed to the entertainment column of Creep Radio and Fame Magazine. In her free time, when she is not telling old folks where to find the start button on their computers, doing customer service for the Geek Squad, Vivian is establishing her Youtube channel Vivian Live.
It truly is a wonderful infectious feeling knowing that you aced your last college exam and now you are about to walk across the stage at your graduation, with all of your friends and family watching, to accept your degree from your dean, academic counselor and college president.
But, if I could go back to my college years, it would not only be to experience the epic parties all over again, the late night study sessions, and the countrywide bus trips to different track meets, it would also be to add MORE experience to my resume. Granted, I completed three internships during my four years of college, but if I could just change one thing, I would have done more internships. I earnestly believe this would have dramatically helped me in the years following graduation where I found myself in a common situation to other graduates, jobless.
Even after having graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, a lot of the companies I was putting in applications to were dismissing me because they wanted to go with someone with “more experience.” As a result, I ended up working jobs that had nothing to do with what I went to school for just to get my bills paid, and trust it’s not a situation you want to be in. In between my various full time jobs working at call centers and waitressing, I was picking up part time internships related to my degree to add that missing experience from my college years.
My post college internships included, producing a radio show for a local station, reporting entertainment news for a gossip blog, and managing social media accounts for a production company. Though all within the same field of communications, each internship was vastly different in the roles that I performed within each company. With each completed internship, I slowly but surely understood what it was I wanted to do with my education and where I wanted it to take me and though I am glad to be at the point I am now, it would have been better to have this knowledge prior to graduating.
From the start, I had a good idea of what I wanted to study in college but if you are like many others, you may not be sure and the trepidation of having to decide can be overwhelming. That is ok! Internships can help you figure out what it is you want to do once graduating. The more internships you are able to do, the more you can get a feel of your own strengths and weaknesses. In completing multiple internships throughout your college years, you may realize ‘I like doing this, but this is not what I want to do’ or ‘I had no idea I was going to like this kind of work.’
On the same note, you still don’t want to be doing random internships. You still don’t want to waste time on something that may not be beneficial. Think about where you would want to work if money were no object and start from there. If you are still having trouble, try answering a few simple questions: What do I like to do? What am I usually doing that make time go by fast without me realizing it? What would I be excited about getting out of the bed to do? What activities would I be happy doing for free? What kind of challenges do I enjoy doing?
In addition to helping you decide a career path, internships also help you grow. Like any job, internships are going to put you into new and challenging situations that will cause you to use your wits. All of which you can cleverly interpret into those future interviews. And don’t forget to forge those relationships with fellow co-workers and supervisors because a solid reference is always key on a resume!
Now go apply!!