Benefits of internships for college students

Hi! My name is Lauren Mandel. I am a 2012 graduate from Florida State University (GO NOLES!) with my B.S in Marketing. I then went on to pursue my MBA at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I grew up in the Ft. Lauderdale area and am now living in New York City. I currently work for a technology start-up company doing client development. While in college, I was very active in my sorority as well as other on-campus organizations and philanthropic events. I now spend my free time enjoying all the activities, food and events NYC has to offer!

College is certainly the best four (or five) years of your life. You will get out of it what you put into it and each person’s definition of “best four years” will be very different.
Many of us start college with absolutely no idea what we want to do after, myself being one of those people. Changing your major and testing the waters in different classes to find where your true passion lies is common among freshman, even sophomores. While it is important to find a major and career path that you enjoy and will make you happy for the rest of your life it is almost as important not to wait too long to find that passion.

Summer internships are a sure-fire way not only to get your foot in the door, but also to get first hand experience into what day-to-day life in a particular field will be like. Yes, what you learn in class is important but nothing compares to actually working in a field and learning from experienced professionals.

Many people say they have their whole lives to work and want to just have fun while in college. Although going on vacation, going to camp or just relaxing with no responsibilities may sound ideal, it may be one of the biggest mistakes you make. When senior year rolls around you will be in a much better position to find a full time job right out of school just due to your extra experience and your “beefier” resume.

Attending job fairs and networking events should be your first step into getting summer internships. No age is too young to begin networking. Use your resources. Whether its alumni, teachers, friends, or even family, most people are willing to get you in contact with their connections, if you ask. Talking to people who work in a field that you are considering, as a freshman it will help you get a better idea of what to expect down the road and if that is a good fit for you. Its never fun being in classes you are not interested in and do not thrive in.

Make a LinkedIn profile. Although you may not have much to put on it yet it’s a great way to make connections and begin searching for jobs and internships. Most recruiters and hiring managers go straight to LinkedIn when considering a potential employee, so get ahead of the game and have one up and running for when you do get that first job or internship.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to make that first step into the working world. A great internship or summer job can lead to endless possibilities in your future. Job offers, great connections and an enhanced resume are all positives that come out of internships. Although it may seem unimportant when you are only 18 or 19 but graduation rolls around very quickly and so do bills, student loan payments and the real world, so be prepared and watch dreams become a reality.

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