The value of an internship

Paige Strott is a 21 year-old graduate of the University of Tampa from Baltimore, Maryland. At UT, Paige studied Communications and Government and world affairs and graduated with Cum Laude honors. During her time at UT, Paige discovered her love of all things public relations and tested the waters of the field through four internships. Beginning January 1st, 2015 Paige will be taking on a social media management position at Brock Communications in Tampa. Paige is looking forward to expanding her horizons and the social media pages of seven major clients in the Tampa Bay area.

My name is Paige Strott I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland and I am a Communications major. I will be graduating from the University of Tampa in a little over one week and I just received a full-time position at a public relations firm in Tampa where I will be managing social media for seven major clients. One of my major takeaways from college was the opportunity that can be found through internships. In my three and a half years of college I had four internships, including one that led to a full-time position when I graduate.

The value of an internship spans far beyond getting experience to put on your resume but employers are looking for students who supplement classes with real-world experience. Further than that, internships provide essential networking opportunities as well as life experience.

Taking the initiative to work as an intern expands a student’s horizons in a way that just classes do not. During an internship, students are able to step out of their shells and test the waters of real-world careers. They also can help students be sure that they are studying to be in the right field. Often a major seems to be what students want to go into, but they cannot be sure until after real-world experience. It is arguable that finding out that you do not like the career you are headed towards is just as valuable as finding an internship that you love.

Not only have a learned an abundant amount during my internships and gained skills that I could not have in classes, I have also had the opportunity to travel because of internships. Of my four, two were in other cities than Tampa, meaning I was able to not only able to work in a new environment, but also gain the life skills needed to move to a new city. One of my internships was through an amazing program in Washington, D.C called The Washington Center and another I did while studying abroad in London. These two experiences have allowed me to challenge myself in a way that I did not think possible.

I have also met some of my best friends and mentors through internships opportunities; there is no better way to increase your network. There is a stigma that no one appreciates the work that interns do, but I have only found the opposite to be true. Every boss I had while interning genuinely cared about my future and did all they could to help me advance in my career. A boss that I had during my last internship took me to networking events and sent job listings I would be interested in because she was just as invested in my future as I was. I cannot imagine my college experience without the value of internships, and I certainly would not have a job in my field at graduation without them.

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